These heroes don’t wear capes — they come on skateboards.
Four young boys from Calgary were recognized for their act of bravery and awarded the prestigious Award of Exceptional Recognition at the Calgary Police Service Chief's Awards Gala, Thursday.
The four Calgarians, Arnaud Nimenya, Carsyn Wright, James Hielema and Starlyn Rives-Perez, were skateboarding on the night of April 2, 2015, at an underground parking lot at Chinook Mall, when they witnessed a rape in the making — a young man carrying a seriously inebriated and distraught woman into a stairwell.
The four skateboarders, feeling something was amiss, questioned the man but he reassured them by showing them his cell phone and saying he was trying to call the girl’s father. The four teens let the couple leave, but a few moments later, they found him trying to sexually assault the girl in a dark corner of a stairwell.
"You walk in, and you see something like that, and you freeze. You don't know what to do," Nimenya said, whose first reaction was one of total shock.
“You can’t just leave a girl and like she was young, 15 years old. She needed help and we needed to be there for her," Wright said in an interview.
The teenagers jumped into action, forcing the assailant leave the girl and flee. Three of them gave chase while one of them stayed behind to attend to the girl.
The boys had to physically grab the man and restrain him until the police arrived. The attacker was charged with sexual assault of a minor.
A total of 25 Calgarians were honored with awards at the ceremony, which took place at the Calgary Stampede’s BMO Centre.
Matthew Eyre, who received the Award of Exceptional Recognition for Life Saving, saved a man from suicide.
“I know that, I feel like that sounds arrogant, but I wasn’t looking for recognition. I was looking to do what felt like the right thing at the right time,” said Eyre. “This is just a bonus. It’s good to see that people who do the right thing are recognized accordingly.”
“This is the true nature of Calgarians,” Calgary Chief Roger Chaffin, who presented the awards to the 25 exceptional individuals, said. “To be able to come out and see somebody in trouble and just act, selflessly act, to help other people out.”