Little did Tyler Bailer’s Mum realise when she enrolled 6-year-old Tyler is a course to be a junior lifeguard, that 12 years later he would be receiving a medal from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and that for saving his step-father’s life! That is what happened this week at Buckingham Palace for the modest lad from Wetaskiwin, Alberta, as The Queen presented him with the Russell Award for his heroic actions in July 2015.
Tyler had continued with lifesaving and is now a Royal Life Saving Society trained lifeguard who not only acts as a swimming pool lifeguard but has also competed in competitions throughout the world, including Germany and Holland. But it was when he was downstairs at home and heard his mother shout for help his training kicked in action for real. The then seventeen-year-old went upstairs to his mother who was by his prostrate and unconscious step-father who suffered from cardiomyopathy. His mother, Heather, had dialled 911 and Tyler commenced artificial respiration which he continued for about 10 minutes until the emergency services arrived and took over.
“We didn’t think that him saving my husband’s life would end up at the palace but here we are and we’re very proud,” Bailer’s mother Heather said. “Very, very proud and overwhelmed and he almost makes me want to cry”. Tyler admitted to having butterflies when The Queen walked up to present him with the award, Heather said that it was a very humbling experience and she hoped she looked as good as the Queen when she reaches ninety.
The award ceremony at Buckingham Palace was to celebrate those from all over the Commonwealth who had completed remarkable life-saving actions and was organised by the Royal Life Saving Society which this year celebrates 125 years since it was formed and during that time many people including Her Majesty have received life-saving medals. As well as Tyler, Professor John Pearn from Queensland was presented with the King George VI Cup for his research work into drowning prevention, and Zac Dominic from Saint Lucia received the Mountbatten Medal for risking his life to save a man who was being dragged out to sea.