Local Jayme Saunders receives award for bravery

Jayme Saunders talks about her awards reaction and the brave event that earned her them.

  • Mar. 29, 2011 3:00 p.m.
Jayme Saunders receiving hr awards.

Jayme Saunders receiving hr awards.

Jayme Saunders and some of her family recently went to Vancouver where she was presented two awards after what could have been a tragic incident almost eight months ago.

Saunders was on a July camping trip with her boyfriend David Weismiller’s family near Invermere when they decided to take a dirt bike ride up a logging road for a picnic. On the way, Weismiller lost control of the bike trying to negotiate a curve and they plunged off a bridge into glacier-fed Findlay Creek. The bike and bodies hit the creek bed hard in less than six inches of water. Saunders had taken Red Cross first aid training and completed her Bronze Medallion. She knew she had serious leg injuries, but Weismiller had taken the brunt of the collision.

He was coughing up blood and Saunders was concerned about him being in the icy water, so she began to remove his wet clothing. She took a minute to administer first aid to her own leg, trying to control the bleeding, but despite her own injuries, was focused on Weismiller’s well-being.

The first to arrive was Weismiller’s step-father Shane, but it wasn’t until nearly four hours after the incident that emergency crews were able to reach the crash site.

Weismiller had suffered a broken shoulder blade, three broken ribs and a collapsed lung and was suffering stroke-like symptoms due to a pinched carotid artery restricting blood flow to his brain while she had suffered a broken femur. They were transported to the Invermere Hospital, then he was airlifted to Calgary and she was sent to Cranbrook hospital the next morning. Saunders was taken back when she first found out about the award and said, “I  didn’t know what to think about it at first. It is really weird saying it is an honour when I don’t see it that way.”

As for the ceremony she did enjoy herself but added that, “Going up in front of over 200 people was a very nerve racking experience.”

Julie Saunders is Jayme’s mother. She was very proud to hear about the award her daughter was going to receive.

“I was excited for her to be recognized for what she had done. It has been a life changing experience for all of us. It is still emotional to talk about. She deserved the awards she received.”

Saunders’ awards were given to her for having the presence of mind and strength to overcome her own pain and ensure that Weismiller’s injuries weren’t fatal. She was presented with a Silver Medal for Bravery along with another award for proficiency and knowledge involving an aquatic emergency.

Eight months later Saunders is still recovering from the accident but is staying positive that she will eventually completely heal.