Leduc teen receives Canadian Red Cross Rescuer Award

Topics: Alberta, Youth
Shelly Makrugin | June 14, 2019

“It was very shocking to see how strong the current was in the middle of the river.”

 Leduc teen Rebecka Blackburn is a Red Cross lifeguard and instructor and was a competitive swimmer for eight years. She didn’t hesitate when she saw a man in trouble in the North Saskatchewan river in Devon in July 2018. 

“I have never experienced a rescue that was as scary/intense as this one, and I am thankful that my training kicked in to autopilot. Seconds before I approached him he had submerged under the water, and I instantly dove down and pulled him up on to my hip.”

 Blackburn was awarded the Red Cross Rescuer Award at the annual Red Cross Alberta Water Safety Conference in October. The award acknowledges the efforts of non-professional rescuers.

“This whole situation feels very extraordinary and surreal. It’s hard for me to acknowledge my actions as heroic, as the rescue to me was less of a random act, and more so the act of my training being applied to reality.”
Blackburn She says she always felt extremely confident in the water, but also knew river currents were dangerous.

“Although I appreciate the recognition, I am even more grateful for the water safety awareness that my rescue has brought to the public.” 
 
“I recommend that any swimmer, regardless of their strength, should always wear a lifejacket, and never go out in the river alone.”