Sweetgrass man who saved girl from fire awarded for bravery
- EFN Staff | October 12, 2017
A man from Sweetgrass First Nation received an award for his act of bravery earlier this week in Regina at the Government House. Clark Whitecalf was awarded the Stanhope Certificate from the Royal Canadian Humane Association Bravery Awards for rescuing a girl from a house
“It’s honouring and a humbling experience,” said Whitecalf. “These awards I’ve received are pretty prestigious…it’s only a once in a lifetime thing.”
August 31st, 2015, Whitecalf was driving by a residence on the First Nation reserve and noticed flames from the house windows. He called 911 and immediately ran to the backdoor where flames were coming out of the windows. Whitecalf heard someone coughing inside the burning house and tried to go through but couldn’t make it due to the flames. He ran to the front door and crawled through the black smoke and extreme heat even though he had difficulty breathing. He called out again and saw a hand fall to the side of the couch. It was then that Whitecalf saw a unconscious teenage girl and pulled her out of the house to safety. Afterwards, the 18-year-old girl was taken to North Battleford hospital and transferred to Saskatoon hospital where she was treated for severe burns and smoke inhalation.
Whitecalf was also treated for severe smoke inhalation. It was his act of bravery that landed him this prestigious award in 2016 and was voted the most outstanding rescue in Canada that year. This year he was awarded the Stanhope medal – which is only awarded once a year for the entire commonwealth.
Trustees reviewed the nominations, Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra was impressed with Whitecalf’s act of bravery that she requested under the patronage of the Majesty the Queen a special frame to be presented to him.
The Chief of Sweetgrass First Nation attended the awards ceremony and said she is proud of Whitecalf and that he is considered a hero in their community.
“Every time I see the girl he saved, I think of him,” said Chief Lorie Whitecalf. “He did something that very few people would do. He put his own life on the line to save one of our young women from the reserve.”
Whitecalf doesn’t see himself the same way his community does.
“I never really saw myself as a hero. I reacted on impulse and my instinct…I did the right thing.”
Last year, he also received a medal for heroism from the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission which is based out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.