John Prokop, owner of James Street Billiards in Duncan, will receive a Carnegie Medal for his heroic actions during an incident in the summer of 2016. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Vancouver Island man to receive Carnegie Medal for heroic actions

John Prokop went to the rescue of RCMP officer in 2016

John Thomas Prokop, owner of James Street Billiards in Duncan, will receive a rare and prestigious Carnegie Medal for his heroic actions during an incident in the summer of 2016.

The Carnegie Medal is given throughout the U.S. and Canada to those who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others.

Prokop, 49, who will receive his medal on April 3 from North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring, is just one of two Canadians to be awarded a Carnegie Medal for heroism this year, as well as one of only 1,000 Canadians who have received the medal since it was first introduced.

A total of 10,062 Carnegie Medals have been awarded since the Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Hero Fund Commission’s inception in 1904.

On July 8, 2016, Prokop helped to rescue a police officer from an assault in Duncan.

RELATED STORY: RCMP’S NORTH COWICHAN/DUNCAN DETACHMENT OFFICERS OVERWHELMED WITH ACCOLADES

During the incident, which occurred on a street in downtown Duncan, a police officer struggled to detain a man who violently resisted arrest and was reaching for the officer’s duty belt which held a holstered handgun.

Eventually the struggle continued on a church’s front porch, where the assailant put the officer in a headlock.

The nearly exhausted officer later stated that he had difficulty breathing during the incident.

Prokop ran to the scene and grasped the assailant, allowing the officer to escape the headlock.

All three fell to the church steps, and the officer held the assailant in a headlock while Prokop pinned the assailant’s legs until backup officers arrived.

The officer recovered from soreness to his throat and neck, while Prokop scraped his arm and face but did not require medical attention.

Prokop was also honoured by the RCMP in 2017 for his actions that day in an award ceremony in Victoria.

RELATED STORY: RCMP HONOUR THEIR OWN AND ONE COWICHAN CIVILIAN FOR HEROIC ACTS

The awards ceremony, in which Prokop received a commendation for his quick actions, highlighted exemplary work done by police officers and civilians alike when faced with challenging situations.

“I’m overwhelmed,” Prokop said when asked about receiving the Carnegie Medal.

“It’s surreal to be honoured for doing the humanely right thing to do in that situation. It all happened so fast it seemed like a blink of an eye, but I was glad I could make a difference.”

Prokop said he also received a $5,000 U.S. grant from the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, which he used to pay off his credit cards.

“I was also informed that the commission will pay for my tuition, books and fees if I choose to go back to school,” he said.

“I was thinking on upgrading my drivers’ licence so I could drive a charter bus, or something similar, after my days at the pool hall are over.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Canada Women’s Rugby 7s Team land at home after series triumph

Next stop at Langford offers Olympic qualification

Group aims to raise $250k ahead of Sarah Beckett Playground’s August opening

Not yet halfway to goal for equipment costs, but plans for upcoming fundraisers are underway

Two-sailing waits continue Victoria to Tsawwassen

Backlog continues despite extra sailings over Easter

Second earthquake in less than two hours strikes off Vancouver Island

The first earthquake happened at 1:27 p.m., the second at 2:44 p.m.

BC Boxing brings championship bout to Bear Mountain

Langford hosts another big sports event as part of its regional sports tourism strategy

Homeless activists outside Notre Dame demand ‘a roof too’

Wealthy people have donated millions to effort to rebuild cathedral after devastating fire

United Way opens grants to help charities tackle social issues

Charities north of the Malahat can apply for grants $2,000 to $20,000

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Man’s body found in popular Cowichan Valley hiking area

Police say death not suspicious after discovery in Stoney Hill area overlooking Saltspring Island

Multiple sailing waits as BC Ferries deals with Easter Monday traffic

89 extra sailings had been added to the long weekend schedule

Vancouver Island-based company provides glass alternatives to plastic straws

Enviro Glass Straws now producing more than 60,000 straws each year

Most Read