Two West Shore RCMP auxiliary constables have been awarded the Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition for their years of service to police work and the community.
Lorne Fletcher and Don Devenney were picked out for the honour. Across Canada 64 auxiliary constables received the award, including the two to the West Shore members. There are around 1,200 auxiliary constables in B.C.
The award is given to Canadians to honour significant contributions and achievements. In total 60,000 are being given out in honour of the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne.
“I was stunned, I really was,” said Devenney. “I had not even thought that we would have been put up for it, at any stretch. I was quite surprised and quite humbled by the whole thing.”
Devenney said in 17 years of service with the agency, he has never volunteered less than 200 hours and last year he clocked 360 hours. Devenney also took part in Tour de Rock in 2008 and the gruelling Sultan Marathon des Sables, a 246-kilometre run in the Moroccan Sahara desert, earlier this year.
“I’ve always had a personal belief that you can either be a part of the solution or a part of the problem,” Devenney said. “I chose to be a part of the solution. I also believe that everybody should be doing something toward their community.”
Over 22 years Fletcher said he has contributed thousands of hours to the position, including his own Tour de Rock ride in 2003. For the past few years Fletcher has also been involved in the provincial advisory committee for the auxiliary program, which helps steer the direction of the program.
Fletcher said he entered the program as a new father and with community safety on his mind. Fletcher said now he sees the role from a broader perspective and believes in the greater community building opportunities the role provides.
“That’s just kept me going, the opportunities to be involved different things,” Fletcher said. “This is like any other volunteer position, you get, fully, out of it what you put into. You can make it as wonderful as you want it to be.”
Both officers said the job isn’t for everyone, but for those who fit the bill joining the auxiliary constable program is an excellent way to give back to the community.
“You’ve got that core group of auxiliary coinstables who know the community, they know what’s going on,” Fletcher said. “So we’re a bit of a resource.”