At just 10 years old, Elijah Ransome wore neither a uniform nor carried a badge as he sat amongst dozens of veteran Victoria, Saanich and RCMP police officers. Nonetheless, he was hailed as a hero by those who regularly risk their lives in the service of others.
Elijah was presented with a citizen’s commendation by Victoria police Chief Constable Jamie Graham on Wednesday in Esquimalt during the Victoria Police Department’s third annual Honours Ceremony.
Six commendations were presented to 37 Victoria and RCMP officers.
Vic West resident Phaedra Matus was also honoured for stopping a suicidal woman from jumping off the Bay Street Bridge Dec. 7, 2011.
Four days after that incident, Elijah, then nine, lay in his bed waiting for his mom, Janice Jensen, to turn off his bedroom light. It was their usual nightly routine, but she did not come. And when he called for her, there was no answer.
Elijah went looking for her. In the last room he checked, he found his mother laying on the bathroom floor.
“I thought she was hurt at first, but she didn’t have any cuts. I tried to help her up, but she kept on falling,” he said.
As his mom lay moaning on the floor, loosely grasping the towel rack she’d ripped from the wall as she fell, Elijah, who has no first-aid training, felt for her pulse.
“She wasn’t quite unconscious. She was slipping into unconsciousness,” the Grade 4 South Park elementary student said, not knowing then that his mother was having a seizure. “It’s kind of scary to see your mom in that state.”
Elijah raced to a neighbour’s for help. Ambulance, police and fire were called.
In going for help, he saw to his mother’s well-being, as well as the safety of his four-year-old brother Cole, still sound asleep inside the family home.
Jensen, having grown up witnessing her own mother suffer epileptic seizures, was impressed by her son’s maturity and quick thinking.
“Even if you do know what it is, it’s scary when you’re a little kid,” she said. “(This was) a pretty big thing for a guy who was nine.”
Members of the police department’s honours committee were equally impressed with Elijah’s initiative and bravery.
“His actions are a reflection of his commitment and love for his family, and serve as an example of excellence to the community,” said Mark MacIntyre, VicPD’s public affairs director, who emceed the event.
“I did what any other person would do,” he said, smiling shyly.