On June 17, Sergeant Lee Bibby received the Meritorious Service Medal from Governor General David Johnston.
The Meritorious Service Medal recognizes a military deed or activity that has been performed in a highly professional manner or of a very high standard that brings benefit or honour to the Canadian Forces.
During the night of Aug. 9, 2008, search and rescue (SAR) team leader Sgt Bibby and team member Sgt (then Master Corporal) Stéphane Richard came to the aid of a woman who had severe head injuries after hiking along the ridge of a 400-foot rock face, in Ontario's Killarney Provincial Park, which is located on Georgian Bay.
A rescue helicopter was unable to reach the victim due to poor weather conditions. Upon hearing that the victim’s condition was worsening, the two SAR technicians, from 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron, 8 Wing Trenton, Ont., travelled to the scene and climbed a steep and slippery rock face in heavy rain and darkness while carrying full medical gear. After locating the woman, the pair then stabilized her and remained with her until they were picked up by helicopter the following morning.
“It was nice to be recognized for our efforts,” said Sgt Bibby. “The Chief of Defence Staff gave a powerful speech to the room after the awards were over. You could feel a sense of great purpose for the military.”
SAR technicians are part of a group of elite, highly trained rescue specialists who provide on-scene medical aid and extraction from some of the harshest and most remote areas of Canada. They are military aircrew who deploy from rotary or fixed wing aircraft in any environment or climactic condition. They locate and go to the site, and treat and evacuate casualties. SAR operations may require parachuting, mountaineering, hiking, swimming and scuba diving, sometimes in adverse conditions.