Nearly 40 emergency workers, civilians and volunteers were honoured for their service to the community at the first annual Lloydminster RCMP Recognition Ceremony at Holy Rosary High School on March 31.
The RCMP handed out awards to groups and individuals in recognition of “outstanding performance” and “meritorious service.” The honourees were given medallions with the RCMP crest on one side and the provincial flags of Alberta and Saskatchewan on the other.
“We thank all of you for taking time out of your busy schedules and out of your evening,” said the evening’s MC, RCMP Staff Sgt. Joe Wenisch. “I’d like to welcome all of you, family and friends and coworkers, to tonight’s presentations. Tonight we will congratulate and honour these recipients.”
The ceremony was a dignified affair. Attendees were clad in formal attire, while RCMP officers were in full uniform, from boots to stetsons. In the audience was RCMP K Division executive officer Insp. Brian Jones from Edmonton and representing the city were councillors Ken Baker, Larry Sauer, Linnea Goodhand and Mayor Rob Saunders.
“It is indeed a great pleasure for myself and my fellow councillors to join everyone here this evening.” Saunders said. “There are so many things that go on behind the scenes, the day-to-day that the average person doesn’t see or hear or get a chance to thank, so we’re just so pleased to be a part of this ceremony.”
The night’s first awards went to the Lloydminster Rescue Squad (LRS), in recognition of a February 2014 rescue involving a traffic rollover outside of town in the middle of the night.
“The (LRS) persistently searched for the driver in spite of extremely cold weather conditions. They combed through every inch of the ditch and eventually located (the driver),” said Wenisch. “He was wearing pants and a T-shirt and was also injured and experiencing hypothermia. Had the rescue not been so thorough and persistent in their search efforts, this story may have come to a very tragic ending.”
Afterwards, LRS Chief Norm Namur said he was proud to be a part of the ceremony.
“It’s a great feeling,” he said of the recognition. “It’s great that I can share this with members of our squad because they did an awesome job that night, and not only that, they got very little sleep that night, so we appreciate it.”
The award recipients were chosen by an RCMP committee. After reviewing all the nominations, which were submitted by the police and their partner agencies, the committee decided all the nominees were valid and none were turned down.
“Men and women who give their lives and choose the career of providing this type of service to the public really care,” said Insp. Suki Manj, who came up with the idea for the awards.
“They don’t look for accolades, they don’t look for acknowledgement and sometimes we take them for granted. So I think it’s very important to show them how valued they are, even for the things that they might think are routine.”
The second annual RCMP Recognition Ceremony will take place in January 2016. Police will be asking for nomination submissions at the end of the year.