B.C.'s Medal of Good Citizenship has been presented to residents of Ahousaht First Nation and the town of Tofino for an all-out effort helping dozens of people when a whale-watching ship overturned last October.
Members of the Ahousaht band were first on the scene when the Leviathan II flipped over, sending 27 passengers and crew into the water.
Premier Christy Clark presented the award on Friday saying that communities reveal a lot about themselves during a tragedy, and this was especially true of the Ahousaht and Tofino, whose citizens put themselves at risk.
Six people were killed when the boat flipped and Tofino's Acting Mayor Greg Blanchette says the sudden tragedy deeply affected everyone involved.
Ahousaht Chief Councillor Greg Louie says he is proud to accept the medal on behalf of members who put themselves in harms way without hesitation in order to save lives.
The provincial government also announced it is forming a new economic partnership with the Ahousaht to develop more jobs and opportunities by helping to diversify the area economy.
The Canadian Press