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Sunday, July 22, 2007

London safety patrollers honoured

Two London boys who pulled a younger child from the path of an oncoming van were recognized at an awards ceremony yesterday in Oshawa.

Shpend Bytyqi and Devdutt Kamath, Grade 6 pupils at Sir George-Etienne Cartier public school, reacted quickly and smartly to save a Grade 1 pupil on May 8, a Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) representative said.

As a cluster of pupils stood waiting for the signal to cross the road, a Grade 1 pupil darted through them into the street, said Leslie Rocha, a traffic safety specialist with the CAA.

The younger child was looking down and didn't see a van approaching, but "luckily, these quick-thinking pat-rollers noticed the little boy right away."

Each patroller grabbed an arm and pulled the younger boy to safety.

Their action saved the younger boy from serious injury or worse, said Rocha.

The incident was observed by the boy's mother on the opposite side of the crosswalk and by a teacher.

The boys were nominated for the patroller-of-the-year award by Susan Masciotra, safety patrol supervisor and learning support teacher at Cartier.

In her nomination, she said it was the greatest feat she had witnessed in 19 years of supervising safety patrollers at three schools.

Masciotra praised the "heroic acts of these courageous boys" and their conscientious dedication to their patrol duties.

"They have each performed extra duties by substituting for other patrollers when needed. They are kind-hearted, responsible pat-rollers, promptly ready for duty . . . they can be relied on to faithfully fulfil their duties."

And they often partner at their posts, Masciotra added.

Bytyqi and Kamath share a trophy, plaque and $500, presented by London police Sgt. Jeff Arbing and Supt. Rob Brown, who made the trip to Oshawa for the award ceremony.

The CAA's Patricia Curran Award for patroller-of-the-year was named in honour of a woman who dedicated herself to traffic safety camps for 33 years.

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