Flanked by his family and the grandfather whose life he saved a month ago, seven-year-old Evan Raap was honoured at City Hall Tuesday evening.
Raap and his grandfather, George Epp, had been on their way to the bank on the morning of Oct. 27 when Epp pulled his van off to the side of the road and drifted into unconsciousness.
While Epp sat helpless in his seat, sweating profusely and unable to communicate, Evan dialed 9-1-1 on his father's cell phone and directed emergency responders to the pair's location just off of Ashwell Road.
His calm demeanor and keen sense of direction earned praise from RCMP, his family and, on Tuesday, Mayor Sharon Gaetz, who called Evan a hero.
"I just want you to know that we need more kids like you in our community who, first of all, know what to do in case of emergency and are very brave," Gaetz told Raap. "I'm sure that your Grandpa calls you a hero, I'm sure your sister calls you a hero . . . and everybody around you figures you're pretty special. And so does city council."
Gaetz presented Evan with a certificate of recognition, a keepsake pen and—because she said Evan obviously liked to be prepared—a flashlight.
"We're very glad that your grandpa is here and doing OK. It could have been a very different story and because of you, your family will be together at Christmastime and I think that's pretty special."
Following the incident, Epp was taken to hospital, where he was diagnosed with a broken back. He is now on the mend and was at City Hall Tuesday to watch his grandson honoured.
"He truly is a hero," he told the Times.
While Epp cannot recall much of the day, he listened to the audio of Evan's call to a 9-1-1 dispatcher about a week after his seizure.
Listening to his grandson's voice guiding emergency vehicles to their location was an emotional experience and "a little bit overwhelming" to hear," Epp said.
Evan was well aware that something scary was happening, and Epp is impressed with the seven-year-old's calm demeanor despite the scary situation he was in.
"There's a time frame that amazes me, that he had control of everything that was going on," said Epp, who also credited the 9-1-1 dispatcher for helping—and not discounting—Evan's call.
After a flurry of publicity immediately after the incident, life at the Raap's home has returned to normal. Still, Epp hopes other families will take notice and teach their children about what to do in the case of an emergency.
"If it saves one person, it's great," he said.