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Two local citizens honoured for lifesaving act

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The Order of St. John in Canada honours its deserving members and presents lifesaving awards to people who have saved or attempted to save lives. At a private reception for honourees at Government House, on October 19, the Order of St. John invested several Manitobans with honours, which included lifesaving honours to two local citizens Don and Laura Ayres.
The ceremony included awards from 2019 to 2021 as they were unable to host an Investiture Ceremony in 2020. Don and Laura Ayres were recognized with the St. John Ambulance Life-Saving Award- Silver.
Their citation reads as follows: “Don and Laura Ayres – On Sunday, February 23, 2020 at approximately 9:45am in The Pas Manitoba, Don and Laura Ayres were out in the driveway preparing to leave for church when their friend stopped by. Don was engaged in a conversation with his friend about hockey when without warning his friend collapsed. His friend was unresponsive, so he called to his wife Laura to call 911 and then immediately started CPR until EMS arrived on scene. Don and Laura took turns providing CPR for approximately ten minutes. Their friend was transported to St. Anthony’s hospital and then air lifted to St. Boniface in Winnipeg. According to the cardiologists at St. Boniface Hospital, the quick actions of Don and Laura Ayres in The Pas is the main reason the patient is alive today.”
Laura Ayres, worked 15 years as a lifeguard, with one summer on the Northern Water Safety program where she met her friend and neighbour 33 years ago then never saw him again till she moved to The Pas in 2009 to teach at UCN. She never thought he would become such a good friend or that she would have to use her training to keep him alive. Don Ayres was a firefighter for 25 years and he and Laura met here in The Pas when he came to join the department in 2012.
Laura Ayres stated, “When I was teaching CPR as an Instructor Trainer, we were always told that there is very little chance of survival, so I am so glad that we knew the skills and could make a difference. Others need to know that this is possible and to take a class - the next life they save might be mine.”
Risking your life to save another is considered the ultimate act of selflessness. Those who perform such acts defy the instinct for self-preservation and exhibit an inspiring spirit of generosity. St. John believes that these actions deserve to be recognized. The Order of St. John first instituted a Life Saving Award more than 127 years ago, in 1874. The St. John Life-saving Medal of the Order is awarded to those who, in a conspicuous act of gallantry, have endangered their lives saving or attempting to save a life.
St. John Canada established the St. John Ambulance Life-saving Awards Program over 30 years ago to acknowledge individuals or groups of individuals who have administered first aid while saving or attempting to save a life. To recognize these individuals, St. John Ambulance grants two awards at the national level by the Chancellor and one at the provincial/territorial level by the Chair of the Council.

Gold – recognizes individuals, or groups of individuals, who have saved or attempted to save a life through the administration of first aid knowledge and skills, where a degree of risk to life exists.
Silver – recognizes individuals, or groups of individuals, who have saved or attempted to save a life through the application of first aid knowledge and skills, where no risk to life exists.
Provincial Award: Certificate of Commendation — Individuals who helped a casualty to a lesser degree, with or without the application of first aid, are granted a Certificate of Commendation from the Provincial/Territorial Council Chair.