By Debra Downey, Senior Editor
Bishop Tonnos’ athletic banquet last June could very well have turned tragic.
But thanks to the quick thinking and steady leadership of Dawson Lucier, a much-loved staff member is alive, and Dawson is being hailed as a hero.
On the night of the banquet, the teenager was sitting with friends at the side of the stage when the staff member, who was presenting an award, collapsed, fell backward and went into cardiac arrest.
“....I honestly can’t say I remember running up onto the stage…everything just happened so quickly, it was instinct,” said Dawson. “Someone needed help and I just did what I had to do.”
Dawson first immobilized his patient’s spine, noticed she wasn’t breathing and initiated CPR. With the assistance of co-worker Danielle Kent, the pair performed four cycles of two-person CPR before the staff member showed signs of life. With presence of mind far beyond his years, Dawson told his principal to get a barrier device, directed another teacher to grab a portable defibrillator and told another to contact EMS.
For his life-saving efforts, and extensive school and community involvement, Dawson has earned a nomination for the Ontario Junior Citizen of the Year award. Coordinated by the Ontario Community Newspapers Association and its 300-plus member newspapers, the awards recognize outstanding young people in communities across the province.
Dawson has attained honour roll status each year at Bishop Tonnos, while working part time as a City of Hamilton lifeguard/swim instructor, participating in sports as a player and coach and giving back to the community of Ancaster.
“Being active in the local community has always been a big thing in my family,” said Dawson. “Whether it be coaching hockey, Relay for Life or helping out with local food drives, I think it’s important to give back.”
Dawson is serving as student council president this year at Bishop Tonnos and is involved with initiatives like Halloween for Hunger, Pilgrimage Walk for Charity and World Suicide Prevention Day. In the community, he has lent a helping hand to the Ancaster Food Drive and captained a Relay for Life team to raise money for cancer research.
A well-rounded and gifted student athlete, Dawson has participated on many school teams. During his Grade 10 year, he was competing at the provincial level as a road cyclist, and despite a gruelling schedule, he still managed to snag BT’s Junior Male Athlete of the Year award for his school-based athletic achievements.
As for the future, Dawson is “still very undecided.” He has applied to para-medicine at the University of Toronto and kinesiology and health sciences programs at McMaster.
Where ever life’s path takes Dawson, you can be assured success will follow.
“His contagious enthusiasm and passion for life make him a natural leader among his peers,” according to Dawson’s nomination papers. “He demonstrates exemplary character, but he is not content to rest on his laurels. Instead, he is constantly looking for his next challenge to fuel his physical, emotional, mental and spiritual growth.”
For more information on the Junior Citizen awards program, sponsored by TD and Direct Energy, see www.ocna.org.