Rescuers receive honours

Mike and Shelley Bircsak were heroes before, but now it’s official.

Brave deed: Mayor Marty Bootsma

Brave deed: Mayor Marty Bootsma

Mike and Shelley Bircsak were heroes before, but now it’s official.

On Monday evening, Salmon Arm Mayor Marty Bootsma, on behalf of the Governor General, presented the Salmon Arm couple each with a Certificate of Commendation.

The award is given to those who have made a significant contribution by providing assistance to another person in a selfless manner. This  clearly describes the Bircsak’s actions on June 20, 2009, when they braved choppy waters on Adams Lake to rescue a man who appeared to be drowning.

“There had been a windstorm on Adams Lake,” says Shelley. “We were just coming past the mill where there’s a boom and the water was really choppy and it was kind of hard to see. We could see something but we didn’t know what at first, and then we decided it was the bottom of a boat.”

The Bircsaks made their way to the boat and found a man  wearing a PFD tangled up in fishing line in the water. They got him in the boat, hooked the overturned boat to theirs and made their way to shore.

“It was pretty exciting to get that, we sure never expected it,” says Shelley of receiving the awards, which she says will be kept with a letter of thanks from the family of the rescued man.