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

Home care transition could exasperate worker shortage: Seniors advocate

Advocate fears impact of eight-hour shift model on an industry under stress

New festival celebrating Croatian culture to be held in Victoria

CROfest will be held May 4 and 5 at Croatian Catholic Church of St. Leopold Mandíc

High of 14 C for Wednesday

Plus a look ahead at your weekend forecast

Tryouts underway for Oak Bay High golf team

Cool April weather brings a chilly start for school team

WATCH: Police call Happy Valley shooting an ‘isolated and targeted’ incident

One person in custody, another fled following crash on Kelly Road

Wanted by Crime Stoppers

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

POLL: Do you think the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris should be rebuilt?

Images of one of the word’s most iconic landmarks were seared into… Continue reading

Tofino beckons Trudeau for quiet Easter vacation

Environmental group hopes latest Pacific Rim vacation inspires change in prime minister

Should B.C. parents receive money if they make sure their kids are vaccinated?

New survey looks at public opinion around government’s role in forcing immunizations

‘Cutthroat’ sport of wine tasting happening in B.C.

BC Tasting Games are underway with competitions in three Okanagan communities.

Early data suggests no post-legalization spike in drug-impaired driving charges

Many police departments are prioritizing investigations related to drugs like fentanyl and methamphetamine

Woe, Canada: Bruins down Maple Leafs 5-1 in Game 7

No Canadian teams left in Stanley Cup playoffs

B.C. men challenge constitutionality of Canada’s secret no-fly list

Parvkar Singh Dulai says he received a “denial of boarding” notification under the no-fly program last May 17

Most Read