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)

South Okanagan 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 small fire was in the Big Eddy. (Contributed)
Revelstoke grass fire extinguished

The blaze is the first of the season in our area

Twin falls in Yoho National Park. Yoho is one of the mountain parks whose draft management plan is now available for review. (Claire Palmer photo)
Local input sought to shape future of mountain national parks

Banff, Yoho, Kootenay, Mount Revelstoke and Glacier national parks are amongst those seeking input

The city has decided to apply to have the Jordan River area withdrawn from Crown Land disposition, which would put the decision on how the land is used and protected in the hands of the city. (File photo)
City of Revelstoke applying to withdraw Jordan River from Crown Land

At the moment the province has control over what is developed in the area

(Natalia Cuevas-Huaico - Kelowna Capital News)
Titanic was the largest and most luxurious ship in the world. Photo provided and colourized by Jiri Ferdinand.
QUIZ: How much do you know about the world’s most famous shipwreck?

Titanic sank 109 years ago today, after hitting an iceberg

Arlene Howe holds up a picture of her son, Steven, at a memorial event for drug overdose victims and their families at Kelowna’s Rotary Beach Park on April 14. Steven died of an overdose at the age of 32 on Jan. 31, 2015. (Aaron Hemens - Kelowna Capital News)
Moms Stop the Harm members placed crosses Wednesday morning, April 14, on Rotary Beach in memory of children lost to drug overdoses. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Kelowna mothers remember children lost to the opioid crisis

It has been five years since illicit drug deaths was announced a public health emergency

Richmond RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng said, in March, the force received a stand-out number of seven reports of incidents that appeared to have “racial undertones.” (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
‘Racially motivated’ incidents on the rise in B.C’s 4th largest city: police

Three incidents in Richmond are currently being invested as hate crimes, says RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng

Commercial trucks head south towards the Pacific Highway border crossing Wednesday (April 14, 2021). The union representing Canadian border officers wants its members to be included on the frontline priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine. (Aaron Hinks photo)
CBSA officers’ union calls for vaccine priority in B.C.

Border officers at ports including, YVR and land crossings should ‘not be left behind’

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A still from the video taken of a violent arrest on May 30, 2020 in downtown Kelowna. (File)
Kelowna Mountie charged with assault for caught-on-camera violent arrest

Const. Siggy Pietrzak was filmed punching a suspected impaired driver at least 10 times during an arrest

Missy MacKintosh, founder of MisMacK Clean Cosmetics, smiles broadly beneath her mask as she is thrilled to have opened her new storefront location at 231 Alexander St. in Salmon Arm on April 10, 2021. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Downtown Salmon Arm store ‘a dream come true’ for clean cosmetics owner

Missy MacKintosh’s MisMack Clean Cosmetics moves from home basement to storefront

(Pexels photo)
Okanagan film boom owes to industry’s strong pandemic response: Sandhu

Vernon-Monashee MLA Harwinder Sandhu lauded the local film industry’s adaptation to the pandemic

A member of the Oliver Fire Department works on the wildfire near the Cottages at Osoyoos Lake on Tuesday night. The fire is believed to have been caused by a human. (Oliver Fire Department Facebook)
UPDATE: Osoyoos wildfire believed to be human-caused

The Oliver Fire department also responded to another fire along the hike and bike trail on Saturday

(Amandalina Letterio - Capital News)
Kelowna demonstrators show support for Vancouver Island logging activists

Two Kelowna men stood atop a pedestrian bridge on Harvey Avenue to raise awareness about old-growth forests

Most Read