Cupids men who rescued six at sea amonng those honoured
After Carl Butler and his father Ira Butler rescued six people at sea on June 18, 2008, they were reluctant to talk much about what happened.
“We just performed the rescue and went about our daily lives,” said Carl Butler, standing inside Government House in St. John’s three years later. “I’d like to think anyone would do it.”
But both men from Cupids received some well deserved praise on Nov. 29 when the Lifesaving Society’s Newfoundland and Labrador branch honoured them each with a Rescue Commendation Certificate.
The presentations were made by Lt.-gov. John Crosbie, the official patron of the Royal Life Saving Society in Newfoundland and Labrador. Ira Butler’s son Scott Butler accepted a certificate on his behalf.
The boat Joyce’s Dream had left the harbour in Port de Grave at approximately 2 p.m. that day in 2008. The weather was reportedly calm, but a few hours later the boat made an unexpected roll approximately five kilometres from Brigus.
A pair of mayday calls were made, and even- tually all six occupants of the boat were in the water. They eventually managed to board a dinghy, though it was overloaded and partially submerged in water. Two men later left the dinghy and climbed on top of the overturned boat.
Carl Butler and Ira Butler were both friends of the boat’s captain, Don Morgan. Once they received word of what had happened, the two men sprang to action, boarding their pleasure craft to join the search effort.
With help from people along the shoreline, the Butlers eventually found the stranded passengers.
“It was almost getting too quiet,” Carl Butler said, noting one of the women appeared to be dealing with a severe case of hypothermia.
They managed to get everyone aboard the pleasure craft and later picked up two search and rescue technicians to look after those who had been rescued before reaching the shore. All six of the rescued passengers were transported to hospital and later released in good health.
The Rescue Commendation Certificate is awarded to those who perform an outstanding rescue without having attained a proficiency award such as Bronze Medallion or Bronze Cross.
Carl Butler and his father are both experienced fishermen, and Carl said they were ready to do what had to be done.
“You don’t think about anything. You just go, do it, think about it after.”
The event also recognized several society volunteers. The Certificate of Thanks was awarded to Nicole Comerford, Michael Curran, Barry Fordham, George Furey, Amanda Handrigan, Gwen Hiscock, Robert Lemessurier, Jonathan Mayo, Giselle Pike, Laurie Pittman and Leslie White.
Elizabeth Evely, Len Leriche, and Sheilagh Murphy each received a Service Medal, and Bryan Harris was awarded the Bar to Service Cross.
Prior to making his presentation to the honourees, Crosbie praised them for the valuable work they have done to aid the cause of saving lives.
“You’re pulling your weight as good citizens, and we need not recognize only you but many more people to have the same attitudes as you all do.”