Canadian Red Cross volunteers provide ‘care and compassion’ in Moncton

Topics: New Brunswick, Volunteer
July 17, 2014

An emotional regimental funeral service for three slain RCMP officers took place in Moncton, N.B., on June 10.

Thousands gathered at the Moncton Coliseum to celebrate the lives of Doug Larche, 40, and Constables Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, 45, and Dave Joseph Ross, 32.

The service honoured the three New Brunswick Mounties killed in the line of duty and also served as a reminder of the dangers that law enforcement officers across Canada face each day serving and protecting their communities.

In the days leading up to the service, the Canadian Red Cross was asked to assist in any way possible the thousands of law enforcement officers, fire fighters, paramedics, military personnel and search and rescue volunteers in attendance that day. The Red Cross has a close relationship with first responders across Canada, building partnerships with them to support their response activities.

The support from the Red Cross on the day of the funeral services made a difficult day a little bit easier to handle, says Fredericton Chief of Police Leanne Fitch.

“It was a very sombre and emotional day to say the least,” Fitch recalls. She left Fredericton with fellow officers just after 6 a.m. to make the two-hour drive to the Moncton Coliseum, where officers gathered outside, preparing to march in the funeral procession.

A total of 61 volunteers from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and P.E.I. offered their help that day. They handed out water bottles, tissues and sunscreen, arranged transport for an officer who couldn’t march due to a broken leg and ensured first aid responders were on standby for any emergencies.

“Even when we went to use the washrooms there were Red Cross volunteers waiting outside by the doors to respectfully hold the hats of officers as they used the washroom,” Fitch says. “It just showed a phenomenal level of thoughtfulness and care.”

Chief Fitch says that she is more often collaborating with volunteers and workers from the Red Cross rather than being on the receiving end of a helping hand from them.

“Being in policing, we’re so often working shoulder-to-shoulder with agencies and organizations like the Red Cross,” she says. “We’re not typically on the receiving end of their help. It was so powerful to witness the thoughtfulness, care and compassion of the Red Cross from that side for once.”

On a day when there were about as many hugs as there were tears shed, Chief Fitch found a suitable way to express her gratitude to the Red Cross volunteers.

“As I was leaving the funeral I ran into a Red Cross volunteer I knew,” she says. “I didn’t have the words to thank her so I just gave her a hug.”