After 75 years, Pat Coburn finally received the medal he earned for saving a man’s life in 1945. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

After 75 years, Pat Coburn finally received the medal he earned for saving a man’s life in 1945. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

Penticton senior receives Medal for Bravery 75 years after saving man’s life

Pat Coburn was awarded the medal on Friday in Penticton

Even at 95, Pat Coburn can still remember that day in 1945 when he dove down and pulled a man from the depths of Rideau River.

Now, 75 years later, he’s also finally receiving the medal his heroic effort earned.

“I remember vivid details,” said Coburn, who came to Penticton more than 60 years ago as a player and coach for the Penticton Vees.

In 1946, when he was 20, Coburn saved the life of 17-year-old Jean-Marc Aubin, an action for which he was awarded a Medal for Bravery by the Royal Canadian Humane Association in 1946.

READ MORE: Age no barrier to driving for Penticton’s 101-year-old World War 2 vet

Coburn had been working as a life-guard at the Brighton Beach Aquatic Club in Ontario, when Aubin had become exhausted swimming in the Rideau River.

“I had no idea where the kid was in the river. I rowed out in a rowboat to where they told me he went down, and I rowed around until I saw a steady stream of bubbles,” Coburn recalled. “I knew that that was him when I saw that.

“I dove down, about 12 to 15 feet into the river, and of course the boat was carried down the river by the current. So I had to carry him to the diving tower, which was about 30 to 40 feet away, and carried up there.”

After hauling Aubin’s waterlogged body up the tower, Coburn began to resuscitate him, and after close to a minute later, Aubin coughed up the water in his lungs and started breathing again.

“That’s when I knew I had him,” said Coburn.

READ MORE: Turning 101, Penticton veteran looks back on life

He was unable to receive a medal at the time, due to the ongoing war effort, with the promise that he would receive it once World War 2 had finished.

“After the war was over, I never heard from them. My daughter got this all going, and got in touch with them and they had all the records right there, from 75 years ago,” said Coburn.

On March 12, Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki presented Coburn with his medal.

Coburn and Marc-Aubin had reunited many years later, before Aubin passed away in 2013 at the age of 83.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Second World War Medals

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The former Summerland Asset Development Initiative building on Prairie Valley Road in Summerland was suggested as the site for a temporary transitional housing facility for the community. However, Summerland council has rejected this proposal. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Summerland council rejects transitional housing facility

Concerns raised about short timeline and condition of municipally-owned building

Elijah Beauregard, 16, was stabbed in downtown Kelowna on June 27, 2019. He died of his wounds three days later in hospital. His family is raising money to put a memorial bench at his favourite skatepark in Penticton.
Young woman charged in stabbing death of Penticton teen pleads guilty

The teen, who can’t be named, will appear in Kelowna Supreme Court Tuesday

B.C. wineries are open for indoor tasting despite new provincial health regulations. Photo- 
50th Parallel Winery, Instagram.
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

The Kampe Estate across from the Channel has been bought by a developer who wants to put up two towers. (Brennan Phillips Western News)
Residents concerned over plans for Kampe property

Some residents were not happy to hear about plans for two six-storey apartment buildings

Penticton Vees continue their winning streak carrying a 5-0 win title as of Sunday night's hockey action. (Cherie Morgan/Cherie Morgan Photography)
Penticton Vees continue winning streak

Sunday night’s 6-1 win has them with five in a row since the start of the season

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
Suspicion of ‘fake news media’ makes rally uncomfortable for Salmon Arm event photographer

More than 300 people counted at city park for ‘Rally For Food Security’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

Shayla, an 8-pound black and grey Havanese, was stolen from outside a store on Banks Road on Saturday. (Contributed)
Stolen pup located, Kelowna RCMP confirms

Mounties said on April 12 that Shayla, the 8-pound, black and grey Havanese dog, has been located safe and sound

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Parliament Hill is viewed below a Canada flag in Gatineau, Quebec, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians are feeling more grateful for what they have in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly in 2019: report

2019 report shows Canada emitted about one million tonnes more of these gases than the previous year

A car sheared a Hydro pole and the driver was pinned by a fence pole on 43rd Avenue Saturday, April 10. (Carmen Jaster photo)
Suspected impaired driver ‘lucky to be alive’ after crash in Vernon yard

Impaired driving investigation underway after driver shears Hydro pole and narrowly misses being impaled

Most Read