Saturday, September 5, 2015

GARY

Somewhere a young man owes his life to Gary Marshall. It's not every day one meets a hero stepping out of an orange kayak in a remote Ontario Provincial Park!

Born in Watford, northwest of London, England, he moved at 18 months old with his family to Canada in search of better opportunities. Growing up in Scarborough, Ontario in east Toronto, Gary eventually moved his own family to Pontypool. A sweet name for a sweet spot on the rural landscape in the Kawartha area of Ontario.

Gary has a big family with five kids spanning 12 years. A family man, he loves to come to Arrowhead Provincial Park every year with his kids to play, relax and enjoy time away from the stress of work. When he is not home with family, he is a paramedic working out of Toronto. He has been saving lives for the last 32 years.

GARY'S HEROIC FACT: About 10 years ago, he and his family were again at Arrowhead enjoying the area around Stubb's Falls. The water that year flowing through the falls was very full. While walking his dogs below the falls he heard his wife's panicked call. A boy had slipped into the falls and was lodged under a rock below the rushing water.

Muscle memory, instinct and training took over. Running, he grabbed his kid's boogie boards and made it up the steep incline where he positioned the boogie boards up-flow of the boy to help divert water away and hold the boy's head out of the current. He was integral in keeping the boy from slipping back down under the rush of water for 45 minutes until police and ambulance came to assist. Dog leashes were tied together and wrapped around the boy's chest and were used to help dislodge the child from the flow with the help of police and other paramedics.

After a night in hospital and warming up after hypothermia, a large cardboard sign was placed at the park entrance thanking all those who helped save the boy's life.

PHOTO: SPENCER WYNN

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