A frightening situation at the Sam Ault Arena last month proved that North Dundas has no shortage of heroes. On March 13, Heather Cooke Erwin collapsed, and was thankfully aided with life-saving CPR by fellow hockey player Cinnamon Boulanger. Being a nurse, Cinnamon did not hesitate to jump into action, and she continued CPR until paramedics arrived.
At the regular meeting of Council on April 19, Cinnamon received official recognition for her actions when she was presented with the Mayor’s Award, a prestigious honour which is presented to local individuals who step in and provide significant help in times of crisis.
Mayor Tony Fraser opened his presentation of the award with a brief history, and emphasized the he was pleased to be giving the award to Cinnamon to honour her “quick and competent response to a crisis”. Fellow hockey players provided a description of the incident to Council. Heather fell and hit her head during a hockey game, and was taken to the change room. After a brief period of rest, she began to leave and then started feeling unwell and decided to return to the change room once again. As soon as she made it back to the change room, she collapsed and began having a seizure. Coach Vicki Van Hoof summoned Cinnamon, who noticed that Heather was turning blue and did not have a pulse. Cinnamon began performing CPR, and remained “calm, level-headed, and stuck to what she knew as a nurse.” The CPR worked, and Heather soon regained her pulse and started breathing again.
Heather briefly took the podium at the Council meeting and expressed an emotional thank you to Cinnamon. “Thank you, because what else can I say?” Heather said through tears. “I love this girl, I have always loved her, and I love her even more.” Heather’s husband also provided a thank you. “A lot of people just know Heather as a crazy lady who goes around collecting money,” he joked. “But she’s more than that, she’s a mother, a grandmother, my wife, and best friend, so thanks very much for everything.” He added a joke about Heather not playing hockey next season. “She thinks she is, but she’s not!” Finally, Cinnamon herself took the podium, telling Council and the crowd that performing CPR on someone she was close with was the hardest thing she has ever done. She thanked the Mayor for the honour of the award. “Cinnamon, our indebtedness to you is unexplainable, it’s unheard of,” the Mayor said. Heather told the Times that Vicki is also a hero, and she is just as grateful for Vicki’s quick decision to go and get Cinnamon.
The Mayor’s Award was created several years ago when Mountain Fire Chief Raymond Sherrer expressed to Fire Commissioner Armstrong that the Township needed a way to recognize selfless acts by local residents during crisis situations. The first Mayor’s Award was given to Paul Simms and his daughter, Shannon Horsburgh in 2019 after they saved the life of neighbour Bill Workman during a tractor rollover incident. The award presented to Cinnamon is only the second in the award’s history.