Two Winnipeg men who stepped up to help a transit passenger last November were honoured Wednesday for their bravery by the lieutenant governor.

Jonathan Meikle and Matthew Shorting received the Royal Canadian Humane Association Bravery Award, which recognizes the heroic deeds of everyday Canadians.

The two were on a bus near Graham Avenue and Donald Street in November 2018 when they said a man got on and began to make gang signs and yell racial slurs.

The man pulled out a knife and turned his attention to another passenger, harassing them with racial slurs.

During the struggle, Meikle said he was stabbed in the leg but managed to get the knife away from his attacker, holding him down until police arrived on scene soon after.

Devon Evan Charles Henderson, 23, was charged with robbery, uttering threats and assault with a weapon.

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The men told CTV’s Maralee Caruso they feel honoured by the award.

“It’s definitely a notable recognition to come from someone of such high ranking leadership. It’s definitely a lot of feelings,” Meikle said.

Shorting added: “It’s been a great honour. I feel profound existential joy, comfort, and satisfaction that we’re receiving recognition.”

However, Shorting says, “With that recognition definitely comes responsibility.”

The men want to take the opportunity to practice restorative justice with the accused.

“We feel the need to promote restorative justice in this whole scenario,” Shorting explains. “We want healing of all parties. It was a pretty publicized event, so we really want to work with this guy moving forward.”

Meikle said he has taken steps to get in touch with the accused.

“We have to look at what were the driving factors that created this event. I want to look at the social conditions that brought it about. I think reaching out to Henderson is key to that, to see where in life things kind of went wrong,” he added.

The men said their response was the result of a fight or flight reaction and they recognize they could have been much more seriously hurt. 

Meikle said he escaped with just eight staples in his leg and no lingering damage.

Meikle and Shorting are both members of Winnipeg’s Bear Clan patrol, which offers non-violent community-based crime prevention in Winnipeg’s inner city.

“We have that desire to look out for others in the community. That’s one of our values,” Meikle says.