04/08/2014 05:04 EDT | Updated 06/08/2014 05:59 EDT

Three young men who saved family in sinking car among those awarded by premier

REGINA - Three young men who rescued a family of four from a car sinking in a water-filled ditch are among the first to receive a Premier's Commendation Award in Saskatchewan.

Brett Opikokew, Devin Knot and Josh Lasas were teenagers in April 2009 when they came across a car sinking in a deep ditch near Meadow Lake.

It was dark, but the trio didn't hesitate to jump into the icy water to save a mother and three children trapped in the car.

Another award recipient is Dwight (SY'-muhn) Siman of Regina.

Siman pulled an off-duty police officer from a burning vehicle after a collision in Regina in January 2013.

Premier Brad Wall says the award recipients are heroes who in many cases helped complete strangers.

"Through extraordinary acts of bravery and dedicated public service, they have answered the call to action, putting aside concerns about their own safety and well-being to save lives and comfort others," Wall said in a news release Tuesday.

"This award is a small payment on the debt we owe these individuals, who represent the best of Saskatchewan and serve as an inspiration for us all."

The other honorees include:

— Luther High School staff and students in Regina for their response when an armed student entered the school in September 2008.

— Const. Steve Enns of Estevan, who saved the lives of four people caught in a house fire in May 2012,

— Duane McKay of Regina, recognized for his service as executive director of Emergency Management and Fire Safety during provincial flooding response operations in 2010 and 2011.

— Shelley Baldwin of Oxbow who, while dealing with cancer and multiple sclerosis, established a community group called "25 Little Dresses." The group has sewn more than 4,700 dresses for children in the developing world.