Torontonians Honoured for Keeping City Safe

By Ron Fanfair

Ron Fanfair


31 Division
55 Division
Office of the Chief
Professional Standards

Shortly after starting his shift at Coxwell Subway Station last January, Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) Operations Supervisor Ben Kirton heard the alarm activation.

“When I went to investigate, people were on the platform screaming that a child needed help,” he recalled.

Passengers were terrified when they saw a toddler choking.

After a meal at a nearby fast-food restaurant, a family was on the station platform when they realized the child’s eyes were rolling back into his head and called for help.

“The child was not breathing properly and his lips were turning blue. I started doing back blows just to clear the airway. His colour returned and his breathing resumed as paramedics showed up.”

This was the first time he had administered CPR in his six years on the job but has employed the training in the past on his own children when they choked on food.

He was among 42 city residents awarded Toronto Police Service Community Member Awards on October 1 at Police Headquarters.


Man stands with framed award
Dawson Ambroz was honoured for saving a man from drowning Photo: Brent Smyth


Chief Myron Demkiw said the honourees went to extraordinary lengths to ensure the safety and well-being of our communities,” he said.

“They have demonstrated leadership, dedication and compassion and have bravely assisted members of the Toronto Police Service in dangerous situations. These citizens have demonstrated quick thinking, compassion and courage in support of our community.”

Speaking directly to the award winners, Demkiw told them their efforts and inspiration are critical to the city.

“Your courageous actions in the face of danger and your resilience in the face of adversity helps us build stronger and safer communities,” he said.

“Your willingness to go above and beyond in finding solutions to devastating situations, helping people in times of desperate need and acting quickly to assist police in apprehending suspects makes this city proud. Thank you for all that you have done and will continue to do to make Toronto one of the best and safest cities in the world.”

Had it not being for a passerby, a man who fell into a ravine would not be alive today.

Dawson Ambroz was walking his dog last August in North York when he rescued the victim near York University.

The man, in his early 20s, jumped from a bridge and landed in a shallow ravine.

“That area is not easily accessible,” Ambroz said. “It is very bushy and desolate. I heard him drop and when I went down to look, he was there about 50 feet down the embankment.”

He stayed with the man and kept his head propped up out of the water until paramedics located them.

“I called 9-1-1 and tried to keep him calm until further help arrived,” Ambroz said. “I heard the ambulance coming and had to yell so they could locate us. I didn’t want to leave him alone because he was in rough shape.”


Group of people sitting on stairs with a police officer
Chief Demkiw poses after the ceremony with the family of two award winners Photo: Brent Smyth


Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB) Nadine Spencer thanked the community members for their unselfish assistance.

“This is a particularly poignant event,” she noted. “As we honour and thank members of the community for their acts of selfless bravery, caring and compassion, we are reminded that there are many good people in our city, people who truly care and who are prepared to go the extra distance to demonstrate this.”

Spencer told the recipients that their courageous and incredible 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, genuinely and deeply and with a profound sense of humanity, fostering connections that go beyond the ordinary.”

Solicitor General Michael Kerzner was also on hand at police headquarters to thank the recipients for their bravery and selfless service.

“It is important for me to be here today because we recognize outstanding people in our community that I live in,” he said. “When you look at what our community is, it is about people that came from all over the world. It does not matter where you came from or how you got here. It matters what we now do to build the best community we can. Today, it is about acknowledging, recognizing and appreciating special people.”




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