Connection to tragedy: Burnaby RCMP remembers the fallen at the RCMP National Memorial Service

Burnaby

2022-09-23 12:53 PDT

As the public and hundreds of police officers from across the province gather on Sunday, September 25 for the BC Law Enforcement Memorial in Victoria to remember those lost in the line of duty, several staff members from Burnaby RCMP will also be remembering and honouring their own loved ones and colleagues lost to tragedy.

On September 11, on a sunny morning at Depot Division in Regina, Saskatchewan, three current Burnaby RCMP staff members affected by recent losses were able to take part in the RCMP National Memorial Service, the RCMP’s largest and most visible act of remembrance.

This year, three new names were added to the RCMP cenotaph and Honour Roll: Cst. Allan Poapst, Cst. Heidi Stevenson, and Cst. Shelby Patton.

The ceremony brings together family and friends of those who have lost loved ones in the line of duty along with RCMP members from across the country, who take part in a memorial parade.

During the ceremony, the names of the 246 fallen members lost since the creation of the North-West Mounted Police in 1873 were read aloud over the parade square, ensuring their memories are never forgotten.

This event includes tradition, ceremony and protocol, as we pay our respects and honour those we have lost, said Staff Sgt. Major David Douangchanh, who assisted in bringing the Burnaby RCMP contingent to Regina for the ceremony, which had been held virtually for the past two years due to COVID-19.

It’s also a way for the RCMP to honour the families of the fallen, and to show them that we will never forget the sacrifices their loved ones have made. We will always remember what they have done for us in Canada, Douangchanh added.

This year it was very important to include our Burnaby RCMP staff members with close connections to those we have lost, so they can feel the support they have from across the country, and from their RCMP family. It also allows them to meet other families that have also suffered loss.

Four members of Cst. Shelby Patton's family pose with his troop mates, who are dressed in Red Serge, on a sunny day at Depot Division,

Katina Stachura

For Burnaby RCMP civilian employee Katina Stachura, an Insurance and Disclosure Clerk who has worked for the Burnaby RCMP for the past ten years, the ceremony was a step forward in healing after tragically losing her cousin, Cst. Shelby Patton.

He had a lot of integrity and compassion. He was kind, loving, and considerate, Stachura said. It was special for me to walk through Depot Division, along the same streets where he once walked as a recruit.

On June 12, 2021, Stachura’s family was forever changed when Cst. Patton, was struck and killed by a suspect driving a stolen vehicle in Wolseley, Saskatchewan.

For Stachura, attending the national ceremony allowed her to grieve with her close family members, as well as Patton’s beloved troop mates.

Being at the memorial meant a lot to me. Being with my family and seeing the ceremony and recognition for my cousin allowed us to feel connected to each other and connected to Shelby, Stachura said. Learning his stories and also getting to know the people who also shared in his life was amazing.

During the memorial weekend, Stachura was also able to visit Cst. Shelby Patton Memorial Park in Indian Head, Saskatchewan, which was created in her cousin’s honour.

I know his passing and his life won’t be forgotten and his name will carry on. He will always be honoured and remembered, Stachura said.

 Burnaby RCMP Cpl. Laura Hirst poses with Burnaby RCMP Municipal Employee Katina Stachura and Staff Sgt. Major David Douangchanh in front of the brick drill hall at Depot Division in Regina. All three are smiling,

Cst. Derek Bay

Standing in Red Serge in Sleigh Square during the ceremony and hearing the name of his troop mate, Cst. Shelby Patton, called as one of the fallen was an emotional moment for Burnaby RCMP Cst. Derek Bay.

Losing a troop mate and someone I felt close to has been painful, but I think we did Shelby proud by being there, Bay said. The loss of Shelby has been hard to accept, but this was a tremendous way to honour him.

Bay, who now works with Burnaby RCMP’s Serious Crimes Unit, spent six months as a recruit training with Patton at Depot Division, growing a strong bond as a troop. Many of Patton’s troop mates from across the country were also able to attend the memorial, spending time with each other and supporting Patton’s family, including Stachura, through several events over the weekend.

Talking to his family and feeling their pain with them. Talking through it. Sharing stories, tears, some laughs. It helped us as a troop in gaining some closure, Bay said of his experience.

Cst. Derek Bay stands in his Red Serge near some trees at Depot Division in Regina.

Cpl. Laura Hirst

For Burnaby RCMP Cpl. Laura Hirst, attending the National Memorial and returning to Depot Division for the first time in 18 years was a powerful experience.

Just being able to be part of a larger goodbye and tribute was meaningful for me, Hirst said. It helped alleviate some of that heaviness that grief can give you.

In 2020, Hirst’s cousin-in-law, Lisa McCully was killed in the Nova Scotia mass shooting that claimed 22 lives, including that of RCMP Cst. Heidi Stevenson.

Due to COVID-19, Hirst was unable to attend a memorial for McCully in Nova Scotia after her death.

Attending the National Memorial allowed Hirst to mourn her loss with others, and connect with RCMP members from her home province of Nova Scotia, who continue to grieve.

Being able to see people face to face, to hear their stories and about their journey gave me a feeling of connectedness. We had a moment to reflect and be silent. There was some closure in being able to be together and being part of a farewell, Hirst said. For me, I felt a bit lighter when I was heading home.

Cpl. Laura Hirst stands beside Burnaby RCMP Cpl. Freda Fong in Red Serge at Depot Division in Regina.

On the minds of all Burnaby RCMP staff in attendance was Cst. Terry, Tomfohr, who died on duty in Burnaby on June 3, 1967. A monument to Tomfohr stands outside the Burnaby RCMP detachment, in recognition of his service and sacrifice.

He is recognized each and every year with a ceremony in Burnaby and at the National Memorial. Despite him not having family here to attend and be present, his legacy lives on, said Staff Sgt. Major Douangchanh.

Staff Sgt. Major David Douangchanh, dressed in Red Serge, stands by an RCMP memorial with the names of fallen officers on a sunny day in Regina.

Also in attendance was Staff Sgt. Major John A. Buis (Ret), who retired from the RCMP last year after 45 years of service, including many spent in Burnaby. Buis served as the Honorary Aide de Camp for the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan, Russell Mirasty, who is his former troop mate. Both men were also remembering their fallen troop mates Cst. Michael Buday, who died in the line of duty in Northern B.C. in 1985 and Cst. Chris Riglar who died in the line of duty near Victoria in 1991.

The 2022 ceremony, also paid honour to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Commissioner-in-Chief of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who passed away just days earlier.

Burnaby RCMP Staff Sgt. Major Douangchanh had the honour of carrying the guidon, which embodies the honour and sacrifice made by all members of the RCMP. During the ceremony, the guidon was draped in black to honour Queen Elizabeth II.

This year was especially unique. We not only had the opportunity to honour and pay homage to the fallen, and to support our colleagues, but to also pay our respects to the Queen, Douanghchanh said.

It was a very powerful thing to be part of.

Transcription

Video description:
Time denoted 00:00:00 = hr:min:sec

DV: = Described Video
A: = Sounds and music on video
V: = Voice speaking on video
T: = Text on video


00:00:00 to 00:00:09


DV: Mounties march on a parade square.

A: Bagpipe music.

00:00:08 to 00:00:32


DV: Staff Sgt. Major (SSM) Douangchanh speaks in front of the RCMP cenotaph. There is video of Mounties marching across the parade square on a sunny day during the ceremony. There is aerial video showing RCMP officers lined up. RCMP officers in Red Serge stand in front of a memorial wall. There is video of the cenotaph and SSM Douangchanh saluting.

A: Bagpipes.

V: I’m Staff Sgt. Major David Douangchanh from the Burnaby Detachment. We are here today to celebrate and honour those who have fallen in the line of duty for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at the home of the RCMP at Depot. It’s a way to pay respects to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. It’s also a way to honour the families of the fallen and to show them that we will never forget the sacrifices that they have made.


00:00:33 to 00:01:09

DV: Katina Stachura stands in front of a trees. There is a photograph of Cst. Shelby Patton beside a flag. Video shows people lining the parade square with RCMP officers marching, then a pipe band marching. There is a photo of Stachura and Patton smiling with other loved ones inside a home. There is an image of Stachura with Patton and then videos of several RCMP members standing in Red Serge.

A: Bagpipes.

V: My name is Katina Stachura. Last year, I lost my cousin Shelby Patton. Being at the ceremony meant a lot to me. To be with my family sitting there. To be able to finally have some sort of ceremony and recognition for my cousin who we lost. But, also for us to feel that we were connected again. I was sitting with my aunt, and uncle, and my cousin and we were able to have that moment to grieve again, but know we were being fully supported by the RCMP family, which meant a great deal to us.

00:01:10 to 1:27

DV: Cst. Derek Bay stands in front of trees as he speaks. There are 2 group photos of Cst. Bay and troop mates standing with the family of Cst. Patton. There is video of the RCMP cenotaph, including close up video showing Cst. Patton’s name on a memorial.

V: Cst. Bay: Losing a troop mate and someone I felt close to, it was painful at times, hearing his name being mentioned and recognizing and hearing that when they call a troop number and they say there is one missing from the ranks. It definitely does hit home.

A: Bagpipes.

00:01:27 to 00:01:41

DV: An RCMP officer stands near troops assembled on the parade square.

V: Mountie calls out two, and another RCMP member yells back, one missing from our ranks, sir. The same RCMP officer calls back three, and someone else calls back one missing from our ranks, sir. He then yells four, and an RCMP officer yells back, one missing from our ranks, sir
.

A: Bagpipes.

00:01:41 to 00:01:53

DV: Images show Cst. Bay and troop mates standing with the Cst. Patton’s family.


V: Cst. Bay: Talking to the family and feeling their pain and just dealing with it. Talking through it. It helped us in kind of gaining closure.


A: Bagpipes.

00:01:53 to 00:02:12


DV: Cpl. Laura Hirst is near a treed background. There is an image of her marching beside a photo of her cousin-in-law. There is an image of Cpl. Hirst with another RCMP member. There is a photo of Cpl. Hirst standing and smiling beside Katina Stachura and SSM Douangchanh outside a brick building.

V: Cpl Hirst: My connection was I had a family member who was part of the Nova Scotia mass casualty. But just being able to kind of say our own goodbye was meaningful for me. I felt like connectedness from our shared grief, just at being able to see people face to face and hear their stories and their journey.

A: Bagpipe music.


00:02:12 to 00:2:35


DV: Images of Cst. Bay with his troop mates in Red Serge in front a memorial wall, followed by an image of Cst. Bay speaking with Cst. Patton’s family. SSM Douangchanh appears briefly at the cenotaph before a final shot of RCMP members marching during the ceremony spliced with SSM Douangchanh marching away from the cenotaph.

V: SSM Douangchanh: Everyone picks each other up. They can relate to other families who have gone through the same emotions and the same situations. It provides them an opportunity to bond with others. We are a large family, but we are also a very close family. We will always be there for each other.

A: Bagpipe music plays. The sound of marching.

00:02:35 to 00:02:37


DV: Black screen with text and RCMP crest


T: Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Copyright Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, as represented by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 2022.


A: Bagpipe music plays with the sound of marching.

00:02:37 to 00:02:39

DV: Government of Canada logo appears then fades.

T: Canada


A: Music fades to silence.

 

 

Released by

Cpl. Michael Kalanj

Media Relations Officer
Burnaby RCMP
burnaby.rcmp-grc.gc.ca (English only)
6355 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby, BC, V5G 2J2
Office: 604-646-9566
Fax: 604-646-9704

Email: burnaby_rcmp_media@rcmp-grc.gc.ca

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