An Algonquin grad was awarded the Certificate of Merit by the Ottawa Police Service on Nov. 13 after saving the life of a toddler.
Dan Brenner, 35, used the first aid skills he gained in Algonquin’s police foundations to save a two-year-old girl from choking in June of 2017.
“The child was choking and her parents were unable to dislodge the obstruction,” said Brenner. “Someone brought it to my attention, so I gave her first aid and helped her. Right place, right time, and that little girl is alive today.”
While Brenner is happy to receive recognition for his efforts, he never expected to receive any praise. An advocate for community and assisting those in need, he says his actions were an instinctual reaction to seeing somebody who needed help.
“Personally, I was just doing what came naturally to me. I wasn’t expecting an award, I wasn’t expecting recognition,” said Brenner. “I’m glad that there are people out there who recognize an individual’s hard work and dedication. We need that kind of positive reinforcement in today’s world. But if more people in the community would take a moment for others without the expectation of some sort of compensation or reward, I think it would go a long way towards helping the community, especially areas that are in need.”
Upon graduating from Algonquin in 2015, Brenner began volunteering on the Ottawa police choir. Though he is not a serving member of the police service, he does all he can to help his community through school programs, community outreach and general volunteering. His day job, a general manager of a Montana’s, came about because he used the lessons he learned at Algonquin to develop his career as a leader.
“I would not be where I am today without the police foundations program,” said Brenner. “Algonquin had a huge impact on my life. Being the general manager of a restaurant now, the only reason that I have the career is because of the leadership skills that I developed at Algonquin.
While Brenner’s desire to become a police officer has yet to become a reality, he has not lost sight of the motivation that led him to that career path – a passion for helping people. The work he does in his spare time has helped his community, his employees, his college and one very special two-year-old girl.
“You’re only going to get out of the education system what you put into it. You may not achieve success in that line of work, but everything that you learn and everything that you put into your own education will come back to aid you in the future,” said Brenner.