The popularity and rising values of medals for lifesaving and military valor has visibility in the popular press. An article this week reported on a Canadian medal currently up for sale. Its associated tale of heroism is astounding. -EditorIf not for the quick and heroic action of the local fire chief in 1943, Orillia's Royal Canadian Legion might have been blown to smithereens, says legion general manager Bruce McRae.
After an explosion on board a Fairmile warship at the Hunter Boat Works, Orillia fire Capt. Elgin R. Jones entered the burning engine room to seal a leaking tank containing more than 2,000 gallons of high-octane fuel.
If the fuel tank had exploded, the legion in a converted railway station beside the boat works might have been levelled, said McRae.
"Not only was the CPR station spared, but with fuel storage along the waterfront, and Canada Wood's stockpiles of lumber along the rail line, the threat to our downtown would have been obvious to the chief."
For his valour, Elgin was presented with a King's Police and Fire Service Medal, one of only 52 presented in Canada's history.
Fire Lt. Daniel McLeish, who hosed down flames while Elgin worked on the fuel tank, also received a King's medal.
When Elgin's medal recently turned up for sale on eBay, the local fire department decide to raise the $6,000 purchase price to bring the medal back to Orillia where Elgin left no descendants.
To read the complete article, see: Legion hopes to raise cash for medal (http://www.orilliapacket.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1137730)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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