The Firefighters Association of Ontario announced on Monday, January 4, 2021 that Alnwick/Haldimand Township firefighter Matt Dickison will be awarded the Medal of Merit.
The Firefighter’s Medal of Merit is awarded to any firefighter in the province of Ontario for meritorious service above and beyond the call of duty. The Medal of Merit is given out for an emergency event where a firefighter or firefighters showed good judgement, and/or took a calculated risk to save a life.
Just over a year ago on Monday, January 6, 2020, Dickison was off-duty with his wife were on their way home when they spotted a vehicle in the ditch north of Grafton on County Road 23 shortly before midnight. Dickison got out to see if the driver needed assistance. When he approached the vehicle, he could hear the car engine revving, but found an unresponsive male in the driver’s seat. The vehicle doors were locked, but the window was open enough that there was enough room for Dickison to insert his arm in to unlock the door. Just as he got in, the car burst into flames. He ran back to his car and told his wife to call 911. Dickison then ran back to the car, unbuckled the man from his seatbelt and pulled him from the vehicle. Dickson went back inside the burning car and rescued a small Husky dog from the backseat.
“I have no doubt if Matt, and his wife did not notice and stop for that car in the ditch the end results would have been much worse. In my opinion the driver and his dog would have perished in the burning car without Matt’s actions,”, said Fire Chief Mark Diminie of Alnwick/Haldimand Fire Rescue. Dickison had been an Alnwick/Haldimand Township firefighter for just over a year at the time of the incident.
Since its inception in 1983, 55 Medal of Merits have been awarded for 33 separate incidents involving firefighters from 25 fire departments across Ontario.
Each nomination is reviewed by the Ontario Fire Marshal, the Mutual Insurance Association of Ontario and the Fire Fighters’ Association of Ontario.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, these recipients will be presented the Medal of Merit at a later date.