Brantford Police Service Awards – Civilian Merit Awards

There are times when a civilian gives the police service assistance, despite some personal risk or substantial inconvenience and are appropriately recognized for their worthy contribution.

On April 12th The Brantford Police Services Board recognized three individuals: Jason Connell, Justin Hoag and Bob Vigh.

Jason and Justin were in separate vehicles last July when they noticed black smoke bellowing from a van downtown on Brant Ave near the Armouries. Both men immediately stopped to provide assistance, braving the extreme heat of the flames that engulfed the van. They opened the driver’s door and pulled the lone occupant to safety. Connell then used his jacket to smother the flames on the driver.

Connell remarked during the recognition proceedings that he felt the real heroes were the police services in their rapid and efficient response immediately afterwards. Hoag stated in an interview that it ‘was a split-second basic instinct’ that propelled him to the van.

He said there was a fleeting voice of caution.

“I could die, but I kept going,” he said.

Two interesting observations by his Mom Denise Hoag and by Justin himself:

“My son has always put others before him throughout his life” she said.

“I couldn’t believe the other witnesses who were more engaged in capturing a cell phone video and yet refused to participate,” he said.

The driver of the van survived, in no small part, to these fine young men’s instant reactions.

Bob Vigh’s story is also compelling. Vigh and his family recently moved to Brantford in the past two years and opened a new business, ‘The Urban Arborist,’ complete tree care.

While sitting on his porch after work one evening last September, he noticed three men stalking his neighbour’s driveways and carrying tools to one of the vehicles. He leapt off the porch and ran towards them physically tackling and subduing one as the three split up. He backed off when the man pulled a knife on him.

Others, including his wife, chased the suspect, cornering him to assist police in their arrest.

Vigh is happy with the safe community he feels is in Brantford and the neighbourhood togetherness. He figures there is a cautionary message to would-be criminals.

“our streets are not safe for thieves anymore,” he said.

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