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'You are so loved': Ottawa lawyer describes trying to save Cpl. Nathan Cirillo

Eye In The Sky

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This story seems much better placed here than the ongoing domestic terror thread.

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'You are so loved': Ottawa lawyer describes trying to save Cpl. Nathan Cirillo

Hamilton Spectator
By Laura Eggertson

OTTAWA - Lawyer Barbara Winters was headed to a meeting Wednesday near her office at the Canada Revenue Agency when she passed the National War Memorial, stopping to snap a few pictures of the two honour guards standing soberly at attention.

Moments later, after passing by a Canada Post office at the corner of Elgin and Sparks streets, she heard four shots. For Winters, a former member of the Canadian Forces Naval Reserve, the sounds were unmistakable.

Turning, she saw people on Elgin Street ducking. She began to run — not towards safety, but towards the shots, and the wounded soldier lying at the foot of the memorial.

As Winters ran, she looked for — but couldn't see — the two soldiers. Her mind went to the hit-and-run death in Quebec of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent two days earlier, and she instinctively knew the honour guards had been targeted.

As she reached the memorial, Winters saw four people bending over a fallen soldier. She dropped her purse and briefcase on the steps and began to help.

Margaret Lerhe, a nurse on her way to work at the Elizabeth Bruyere Hospital, was pressing her hands to a wound on Cpl. Nathan Cirillo's left side to stanch the bleeding.

Another corporal, a third member of the honour guard who accompanies the two standing at attention, was on Cirillo's right side, pressing his hands to a wound there.

Another soldier was bent over Cirillo's head, talking to him.

"You're doing good, you're doing good, buddy," he told Cirillo. "You're breathing — keep breathing."

Another passerby was at Cirillo's feet. Winters, who served as a medic during her 17 years in the Naval Reserve, asked the man to elevate Cirillo's feet. She loosened his tie.

The group began calling for an ambulance, and for police. Winters began to pray, reciting the Lord's Prayer. She talked to Cirillo. He was conscious; his eyes were open, and he was staring straight ahead. She felt that he could hear her.

"You're a good man, you're a brave man," she told him.

Someone — Winters can't remember who — said the soldier had stopped breathing.

They began trying to find a pulse, one feeling his neck, one his wrist. Remarkably, everyone on the scene had First Aid or medical training. Instinctively, they began operating as a team, talking and encouraging one another.

They began CPR. The soldier at Cirillo's head started mouth-to-mouth respiration. Winters began compressing Cirillo's chest. She asked that the man holding Cirillo's legs lift them higher. Lerhe, the nurse, coached Winters on the compressions, reassuring her that they were strong.

After a time, someone else relieved her on the chest compressions, and Winters moved to Cirillo's head. She talked to him, comforting him.

"You are loved. Your family loves you. You're a good man," she told him.

Winters told Cirillo to think about what he was doing — that he'd been standing guard at the National War Memorial. She told him what a good man he was for doing his duty.

She didn't see a wedding ring, and didn't know if he was married. So she just kept repeating:

"Your family loves you. Your parents are so proud of you. Your military family loves you. All the people here, we're working so hard for you. Everybody loves you."

The impromptu team kept waiting for an ambulance, desperately willing Cirillo to hang on.

"You are so loved," Winters told Cirillo. "We're all trying to help you."

Sirens signalled the arrival of the paramedics. The soldier at Cirillo's head stood up to give them access. Winters took over doing mouth-to-mouth, her body prone over Cirillo's, her feet resting on the fallen soldier's empty rifle.

The paramedics cut open his clothes to assess the injuries, took over the chest compressions and put a neck brace on him. As they worked, Lerhe relayed information about his injuries.

But Cirillo died in the arms of the people working so hard to keep him alive.

Winters does not think she did anything extraordinary by running towards the sound of the shots. She is shaken by the experience, but full of praise for all of those who worked to help.

"No one was hysterical. Everyone was so calm. Everyone was entirely focused on the soldier and on helping him."

She has complete admiration for the courage of her fellow helpers, who worked steadily despite the possibility of the danger from another gunman.

Afterwards, Winters remembered the actions of other women who went to the aid of another dying soldier — Lee Rigby, murdered in southeast London in 2013. As Rigby lay bleeding, several women persuaded his killers to let them go to him. One sat beside him and held him.

Winters did what most people would do, she says.

"When you are dying, you need to be told how loved you are."

:cdn: :cdn:
Jesus Christ. If that doesn't choke you up then you've got a heart of cold stone.

BZ Ms. Winters. I hope she gets the recognition she deserves.
My deepest appreciation and respect to all those folks who tried...............

No words
Between the first two stories and the one I've given here, It is certainly hard to keep a strong composure.  That said, I can't remember when I've felt sad, angry, and scared all at the same time.  Sad for our brothers who've paid the price that NEVER should have been collected IN CANADA, angry that someone would have to wait until we are at a moment of our own personal vunlerability to have a go at us (not to mention that my wife and family are nervous as hell), and scared, because the enemy is now as faceless as they come.  How do you know if the person sitting next to you on the bus is safe?  How do you know that you won't step out of a grocery store with your wife and kids, only to have them get caught in the cross-fire?  Or even worse, if you are deployed and something like this happens?  I know that in all likelihood the odds are still fairly low-ish, but still... the fact that the odds even exist?  Doesn't make for a good feeling.

Of course, with all that said, there is NO WAY that I will EVER be bullied into hiding.  I will follow direction and not wear my uniform in public, as a safety precaution, but I will applaud anyone who acts like the man in this article below.


:salute: to Cpl David Ward for his actions here, and those who would assist him in his duties.

:salute: to Cpl Nathan Cirillo and WO Patrice Vincent.  Your family and loved ones are in our thoughts and prayers.  We will save you a seat at the table, boys.


If you thought reading this was a tear jerk moment, you should have heard Ms. Winters on As It Happens...

Good on her and all involved.  Soldiers stand on guard for thee but it is heart warming to know that some Canadians reciprocate that value...

Thanks for sharing that EITS.
Looking at the picture was hard enough, listening to this was a heart-breaker. I am so proud to be a Canadian right now.
I think I need to take a break from the news and stories of the events of yesterday. It's getting to hard to see through teary eyes.
what a nice read to cap the night. There is much good in humanity.
That was very, very tough to listen to - the interview on As It Happens is below:


Thank you for posting the article, EITS.
I am so grateful these people were there for him.  This story brought a few tears when I read it but it also brought a certain sense of comfort that Mrs Winters was able to speak those words to Nathan Cirillo for us all of us.  underneath the anger, the rage, the shock and the sorrow I have in me there is a hope that he felt the love she spoke to him of in his final moments.
That interview brought tears to my wife and I. I hope it gives some comfort to the family that he was not alone.
“ For immediate distribution, including Face Book and Twitter “

Military/ RCMP Veterans, Forces Personnel and General Public,

October 24, 2014

Re: Cenotaph assembly Oct 28, 2014.

In honour of our fallen Comrade Cpl Nathan Cirillo this past week
you are requested to stand on guard at your local Cenotaph across
Canada with medals. The funeral for Cpl. Cirillo will take place at
Christ’s Church Cathedral, in Hamilton, Ontario at noon on October
28, 2014.

A Veteran volunteer is requested to lead,
1100 hrs 2 minute of silence,
The following prayer should be read.
People can then disperse to watch the procedures on television.

Loving God,
We honour today these soldiers, WO Patrice Vincent & Cpl Nathan Cirillo

They who have laid down their life for their country
Whether weary or emboldened, quiet or defiant,
Vulnerable or ready, they have gone home.
Their sacrifice is too humbling for words
Except these uttered in prayer.
Loving Lord, bless them forever in your eternal peace.
Let the sounds of strife, the cries of battle, the wounds of war
Be calmed for all eternity in your loving and endless grace.
Let these great warriors find rest at last,
Ever reminded that we who are left behind
Cherish their spirit, honour their commitment,
Send them our love,
And we will never forget the service that they gave.
We will remember them.
We will remember them.

Your Sister in Christ and in arms

Rev’d Eileen Steele, CD

“ Together, we can succeed!"

Memorials in Canada :

Would members of his family be eligible for the Memorial Cross (aka Silver Cross)?