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Woman earns Star of Courage for heroic swim

Casey Peirce was cycling with her family at Spray Lakes, Alta., twoyears ago when she heard cries from the frigid, storm-tossed watersnearby.

Casey Peirce was cycling with her family at Spray Lakes, Alta., two years ago when she heard cries from the frigid, storm-tossed waters nearby.

A man and woman were clinging to an overturned canoe in the middle of the mountain lake near Canmore. Peirce jumped in, swam to them and towed the pair and their vessel a kilometre to safety.

For her herculean efforts, the Governor General has awarded the Calgary resident the Star of Courage for an act of “conspicuous courage in circumstances of great peril.” It’s the country’s second-highest civilian decoration for bravery.

It is one of 17 bravery awards announced by Rideau Hall yesterday.

Peirce’s fingers were already numb from the cold water by the time she reached the capsized vessel on July 26, 2008.

She then towed the canoe, with the couple clinging to it, toward the shore nearly a kilometre away. Exhausted, Peirce dragged the victims for 45 minutes until they were close enough for others to pull them from the water.

 
 
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