Fabien Kalala Cimankinda came to the aid of shooting victim
Tuesday 13 November
Hellenic Centre, Ottawa
On Tuesday, Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau and Ottawa Police Services Board Chair Eli El-Chantiry hosted the 2018 Community Police Awards Ceremony. The awards presented were: Special Recognition, Certificates of Merit, Thomas G. Flanagan, S.C. Scholarship, Community Service Award, and Certificates of Valour.
Community advocate and former municipal council candidate, Fabien Kalala Cimankinda was one the citizens awarded the The Certificate of Merit. In September 2017, during a routine visit to Caldwell with his young daughter to visit family, Kalala was thrust into a situation that tested his character and further awakened his passion for community service. It began with gunfire near where his daughter and other children played. Kalala instinctively ran to get the children inside. In the process he saw a man on the ground.
“I still remember to this day my daughter screaming,” Kalala recounted emotionally in an interview.
He then rushed to the young man’s aid and began applying pressure to stop the bleeding in his chest. He started CPR and (assisted by a police officer who had arrived on the scene) did everything he could to keep the shooting victim alive. He recounted how he later drove home, bloodied from the scene, only to hear on radio the young man, Hamzeh Serhan had died.
“I wondered if I had done something wrong, if I hadn’t applied enough pressure on his chest,” he said.
The incident caused Kalala to become more politically active, especially in the Caldwell community, where he banged on doors, hosted meetings and community BBQs. He spoke with community leaders, always seeking answers to the problems plaguing the community. With an election year approaching, he had landed on the political radar of those who follow such things. Some residents urged him to run. And he did, coming a very close second in tight race in River Ward. Fabien’s supporters who were in numbers to witness the award ceremony, were unanimous in their desire to see more of their new hero in the political arena. In a tweet, Fabien responded: “I would like to extend my gratitude and thanks to each and every one of you for showing up tonight. That was a very good moment and made me feel very happy to see all of you. Thank you!”
Photo credit John Adeyefa