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

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
211 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

Currently, there are 875 active cases of the virus in the region

Two teen boys admitted to playing with a lighter for the April 16 wildfire in Oliver. (Lynda Shoemaker photo Facebook)
Two youths admit to causing grass fire in Oliver

That same night a 26-year-old man was arrested for deliberately setting a field on fire

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. As of April 19, more than 230,000 doses have been administered across the Interior Health region. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
More than 230K doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered across Interior Health

A total of 220,216 first doses and 13,775 second doses have been given to residents across the B.C. Interior

Abandoned Rail Brewing Company, located at 1220 Davenport Ave. on the KVR trail, has applied to the City of Penticton for a manufacturing facility and lounge endorsement. The city will review the application in their April 20, 2021 council meeting. (City of Penticton photo)
Penticton could be getting a new brewery on the KVR trail

The patio would seat up to 113 just 10 feet from the trail

courts
Penticton man guilty of assaulting young boys

Bryan Lamb was found guilty of two counts of assault

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

A strange odour at a West Kelowna apartment building prompted the evacuation of 150 residents on Sunday morning, April 18. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
‘Do not occupy’ order lifted, residents of West Kelowna apartment allowed to return home

The building was evacuated early Sunday morning due to a strange smell

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

Vernon Search and Rescue’s helicopter team was asked to be on standby to rescue a missing hiker in Naramata. (Air Rescue One/VSAR photo)
Lost hiker rescued in Okanagan Mountain Park

COSAR, PENSAR, and VSAR worked together to rescue a hiker in Okanagan Mountain Park

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Increased COVID-19 activity brings vaccine clinic to Enderby

Registration opens Tuesday, April 20 for May clinic for anyone over the age of 18

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Most Read