A brave soul
Arviat man saves friend from icy river

Jennifer Pritchett
Northern News Services

ARVIAT (Sep 02/98) - Simeone Mamgark is sure he would have died in an icy river trapped under his all-terrain vehicle had it not been for his friend who pulled him out just in time.

The 37-year-old Arviat man will never be able to thank Donald Uluadluak enough, but feels that a bravery award presented to his friend may be a good start.

Uluadluak still remembers the Aug. 29, 1996 incident as if it were yesterday.

"We were prospecting... about 20 miles (32 kilometres) southwest of Arviat," he said. "He was the first to make the crossing (a creek with steep banks). I went to help him because his foot was stuck on a foot-rest and he was struggling to get free in the cold water."

Despite the near-freezing temperature of the water, Uluadluak, 39, jumped in and pulled the ATV off his friend and dragged him ashore.

"I would have done it in any situation," he said. "I would have been willing to help, no matter who it was."

It's for this compassion that he was honored with "the most venerable order of the hospital of St. John of Jerusalem" certificate of merit at a community gathering on Canada Day.

But modestly, Uluadluak told Mamgark to forget about the rescue because there have been many people who have rescued others from disaster and haven't been honored. He says he's no different from them.

"I told him to forget about it, but he insisted," he said. "I've heard of lots of stories in the past that have gone unnoticed. They deserve to be recognized as well."

But Mamgark's wife Rosie says Uluadluak's recognition is well-deserved.

"I just want to say thank you to Donald -- he's a good friend to Simeone and he's kind," she said. "I'm glad my husband's OK because we've got six kids. I'd miss him every day."