Former Ontario Mine Rescue general manager Alex Gryska was recognized for his international contribution to the cause at an industry conference in Russia in September.
Gryska was presented with a medal from EMERCOM (The Ministry of the Russian Federation for Civil Defence, Emergencies, and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters) at the closing ceremonies of the International Mines Rescue Competition.
The medal, which roughly translates from Russian to mean “For commonwealth in the name of rescue,” has only been awarded to seven people to date.
It’s awarded to those in the global mine rescue community who do notable and exceptional work for rescue services on an international stage.
Gryska is a well-known figure in mine rescue circles for his ongoing work to improve standards and in organizing IMRB conferences in Canada, including the event in Sudbury in 2016.
The awards ceremony took place on Sept. 8 at Tsaritsyno Park, the former palace of Empress Catherine II, south of Moscow.
Gryska retired from Ontario Mine Rescue in 2014 after a 15-year run as general manager.
He serves as the secretary-treasurer of International Mines Rescue Body (IMRB), a not-for-profit organization that freely shares information on improving mine safety globally, and helps organize mine rescue events and conferences in Canada.
Twenty-four nations and four associations are members of the organization.