Fredericton, New Brunswick — It takes courage to do what is right, even in the face of almost overwhelming fear or physical danger. Lieutenant Shane MacNeil discovered this truth while on vacation in June 2007.
Compelled to act
“I received a laceration to my left ear as a result of being hit with a large rock on the side of the head,” said Lieutenant MacNeil, “and my father had multiple fractures of his cheekbone and jaw area. My father is still getting facial reconstruction done as a result of the incident.” The individual they helped also suffered multiple minor injuries.
Chief of the Defence Staff Commendation
Co-workers from both his unit and his civilian job nominated Lt MacNeil for the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) Commendation; Lt MacNeil is the vice-principal of Ridgeview Middle School in Oromocto, New Brunswick. Major-General Marquis Hainse, commander of Land Force Doctrine and Training System, was invited to the school to present the Reservist with a CDS Commendation for his act of courage.
“I’m very proud to receive this award in front of the students,” said Lt MacNeil. “It allows them to see a little bit of my military career and my civilian life—my personal life. It also shows the students at Ridgeview Middle School that, if you see something wrong happening, you should intervene, because no one deserves to be jumped on, or to be kicked. No one deserves that.”
“For me, as Vice Principal of Ridgeview Middle School and as a Reservist with the military, it’s my job to stop wrong from happening,” he concluded.
Father also receives Commander’s Coin
After MGen Haines had presented Lieutenant MacNeil with the commendation, his father was called forward to be recognized in front of the students for his act of bravery.
Tears flowed from Lt MacNeil’s eyes as he watched his father receive the Commander’s Coin. “I felt very, very proud that he too, was recognized, because my Dad did just as much as I did,” said McNeil. “It has been a long healing process and this award provides some closure for my Dad and me.”
Valuable lesson learned
The students at Ridgeview Middle School and all those in attendance learned a very valuable lesson that day: we should always remember with the greatest respect those true heroes who have the courage to stand up for what they know is right, even in the face of fear and physical danger.
Article by Sgt Katherine Greer-Hulme, Army News, CFB Gagetown
Photos by Cpl Hiram Lushman, Canadian Forces Image Technician, CFB Gagetown