Judging from the tributes that have poured in over the past 10 days, it’s clear that Sarah Beckett had a positive impact on people, whether it was through her work as a constable with the RCMP or in other areas of her life.
The support shown for her family, professional colleagues and friends by the West Shore community and far beyond, has been nothing short of incredible.
A group of sports car enthusiasts who wanted to raise $5,000 to help Const. Beckett’s family have seen their fund grow to more than $88,000 (at last check). And an estimated 1,500 people attended a candlelight walk Sunday along Goldstream Avenue in Langford. There has been an outpouring of shared grief, as demonstrations of love for family and community, two things Beckett held dearly.
While public support has been broad in the wake of her death on April 5 in an early-hours crash, equally impressive is how the policing and emergency services communities quickly gathered in solidarity for Const. Beckett’s personal and RCMP families.
Many of us watched her regimental funeral on Tuesday, either through live feeds set up at three large sports venues, or online. With thousands of police officers, including most of her West Shore detachment workmates, solemnly trooping up Island Highway accompanying a vehicle carrying her body, it made for a very powerful sight, indeed.
Such a public display of unity adds to the sadness many people feel at the loss of someone so young and vibrant in the prime of her life. While it was the kind of mass tribute one might expect for a head of state, it was a poignant and vivid illustration of the bond those charged with protecting us have with each other.
Those who are not members of the fraternity that includes police and peace officers, firefighters and paramedics, or part of their families, can only attempt to understand what it is like to lose a co-worker whose job it is to preserve public safety.
The loss of a comrade reminds them of their own mortality and the reality of their sometimes dangerous occupation. When faced with that scenario, they rely on their extended “family” to get through the tough times.
It’s a trait we can all take to heart.