Civic Actions Strengthen Social Fabric

By Ron Fanfair

Ron Fanfair


Office of the Chief
Professional Standards

Colleagues at a bagel shop in the city who rescued a woman from harming herself were recognized with Community Member Awards at Toronto Police Service headquarters.

On September 26, 2022, Eric Alba and Gordana Sorial were working at the bagel shop when an unknown woman walked into the kitchen area, picked up a large knife and inflicted three stab wounds.

A baker, Alba was on break when he saw her enter the store.

“She headed straight for the kitchen, found a knife and started cutting her neck,” he recalled.

Alba immediately called Sorial for assistance.

“I was not too far from where she was, so I went over, took away the knife and provided First Aid,” she said. “In the meantime, we called an ambulance that arrived within minutes.”

Sorial said the young woman spoke to her as she tried to stop her from inflicting more harm to herself.

“She told me, ‘you have to let me go, you have to let me go, you don’t know the things I have gone through’. We fought for a little bit before I got the knife,” he said.

A police officer stands with two other people holding a framed certificate
Gordana Sorial accepted her award from Chief Myron Demkiw and TPSB Interim Chair Lisa Kostakis Photo: Brent Smyth

A total of 43 community members were honoured at the event.

On the first day of 2023, Christopher Block and his partner were walking their dog along the Martin Goodman Trail on Lake Shore Blvd. W. near Ontario Place when they observed a man struggling to stay afloat in Lake Ontario.

“As we were returning home after the walk, I heard some movement over the ledge,” said Block. “The dog also noticed the movement and reacted. We were the only people out there as it was dark, very cold and raining. When I looked over the ledge, I saw a gentleman in the water.”

Block ran to a nearby rescue ladder, secured it to the wall and assisted the man in climbing to safety.

Completely soaked and with his hands showing signs of hypothermia, Block wrapped the man up with his own winter jacket to keep him warm until paramedics arrived and engaged him in conversation to ease his concerns.

When officers spoke to the man, it was evident he was in a mental health crisis and intended to harm himself.

A police officer with two people holding framed certificate
Christopher Block accepted his award from Chief Myron Demkiw and TPSB Interim Chair Lisa Kostakis Photo: Brent Smyth

Chief Myron Demkiw said the impact of the awardees generosity, benevolence and humanitarism stretches wide and far across the city.

“It goes into the very fabric of Toronto itself,” he said. “As police officers, we depend on the collaboration and support of our community members, not only in our wider efforts to improve and modernize our Service, but each and every day, each and every shift of duty.”

The Chief encouraged the recipients to “continue doing what you do.”

“Your actions have inspired us all and they will continue to motivate others to follow your example,” he said. “You have our enduring gratitude and sincerest congratulations on this well-deserved recognition. Let this event serve as a reminder that acts of bravery, compassion and selflessness can change lives and communities. And let us all strive to follow the footsteps of these remarkable individuals to make our city and our world a better place.”

The Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB) grants Community Member Awards for unselfish assistance rendered to the Toronto Police Service.

TPSB Interim Chair Lisa Kostakis said it is looking to the community, more than ever, to partner with to create a safer Toronto.

“Each of the individuals being honoured today rose to the challenge and did what was necessary to prevent a death or a crime or to support a good cause,” she said. “Through their quick thinking, their keen observations, their compassion and their persistence, they helped capture suspects, solve crimes, assist people in need and even save lives.”

Kostakis reminded the awardees that their extraordinary actions play a critical role in building safe neighbourhoods and communities.

“Selfless and compassionate actions of individuals like you contribute beyond measure to making Toronto the best and the safest city in the world,” she added. “This is a city where people care about one another sincerely and deeply.”

Contact Corporate Communications

40 College St., Toronto, ON M5G 2J3
Location of the contact address on the map