Grade 3 student honoured for helping save a life in Burnaby
Eight year-old Nathan Rugge remembers what he did the day he and his father Justin helped save a life.
It was a Saturday in October 2017, and they had come to Lochdale Community School in North Burnaby to retrieve a soccer ball.
"When we first got out of the vehicle, we had a man approach us looking for help. His friend seemed to be in distress," Justin said.
The man needing help was around the back of the school, in a somewhat hidden location.
Justin said he called 911 and started CPR, while Nathan, then just 6 years old, went on his own to guide emergency crews to the spot.
"You could not see it from the street at all. Without Nathan's help, I don't think anybody would have found us," his dad said.
Indicating the back of the school, Nathan told CTV News Vancouver: "I walked from there, all the way over to the front gate of the school."
He waited there until emergency crews arrived, including paramedic Cliff Olson.
"Fortunately Nathan was there, because we actually had to go around the entire school. It was a long hike and a bit of a hidden area," Olson said.
The man survived.
In May of this year, BC Ambulance presented Nathan and his father with the Vital Link award, which honours people who help in cases involving cardiac arrest.
Nathan is the youngest person ever to be presented with the award, said BC Ambulance Acting Unit Chief James Lego.
"It is just astounding that at 6 years old he was level-headed and cool enough and followed his dad's direction and assisted his dad in getting us there," said Lego.
At Lochdale's year-end assembly, paramedics returned to the school again, this time to honour Nathan and his dad.
Justin took the opportunity to encourage others to learn CPR.
"Pretty proud father that he stepped up and we became a team and he did what he did," Justin said.
Nathan also has advice for anyone who finds themselves facing a similar emergency.
"Help the person as much as they can, even if they don't know CPR, and don't walk away."