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Oxford students recognized for saving lives


Minister of Justice presents certificates of bravery

OXFORD, N.S – Few schools can lay claim to having one life-saving student among them. Oxford Regional Education Centre has three.

Keegan Kouwenberg, Jonah MacIntyre and Taylor Millett were recently recognized for their heroics by the province of Nova Scotia during a certificate presentation in the OREC gymnasium.

On July 10, 2018, Kouwenberg was walking to the Oxford Lions Park when he noticed a fire under a veranda at a house on his street on the Black River Road. He memorized the house number, ran home, and told his mom to call the fire department. He then ran back, and with the help of a friend banged on the door, woke the homeowner up and alerted him to the fire. The fire was extinguished with a garden hose before the fire department arrived.

“What Keegan did was demonstrate objective thinking. He was very rational and he took action based on his observations,” Mark Furey, the Nova Scotia Minister of Justice, said to the students gathered in the gymnasium.

Tory Rushon, MLA for Cumberland South, also praised Kouwenberg.

“If Keegan hadn’t noticed the fire and reacted as quick had he did the outcome could have been much worse. Somebody’s life may have been lost that day.” Rushton said.

On Jan. 9, 2019, MacIntyre and Millett were out of school because of a storm day. While shovelling driveways to earn extra money they heard yelling coming from the river.

Susan Atkinson’s golden retriever, Stormy, had run out onto the ice and when she crawled out to rescue him she fell through the ice herself. The boys retrieved a rope from a neighbour and pulled Atkinson and Stormy from the river.

“If the two boys hadn’t have been there that day with their quick action and quick thinking we might have had a different story on a stormy day in Oxford,” Rushton said.

Furey talked about the positive impact their actions, and the actions of all youth can have on their communities.

“I had the good fortune to be at the Barack Obama event in Halifax. A lot of his discussion was about youth. There were 10,000 people present and 3,000 of them were youth,” Furey said.

“Obama talked specifically about volunteerism and participation in community activities, and he talked about community unity,” he added. “It’s through the actions of people like Keegan, Jonah and Taylor that facilitate this feeling of community, the ability of young people to contribute, and the ability for young people to make a difference.”

He said they all have the potential to be the leaders of today.

“People will say you’re the leaders of the future, no, you’re the leaders of today,” Fury said. “It is your voice, it is your action, it is your activity that has an influence on the world of today.”

Students from Grade Primary to Grade 12, including the award recipients, weren’t sure why they were called to the gymnasium a half-hour before lunchtime.

“It was a big surprise. It’s amazing,” Kouwenberg said following the presentation. “I thank Tory and the minister of justice for coming here today and presenting the award.”

Kouwenburg’s mom, Jennifer was also at the presentation.

“I’m proud of Keegan and I’m proud of all the boys,” she said. “It’s nice they were able to receive the award in front of their peers.”

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