November 05, 2010 at 3:01 PM
Two events honour those who serve
By Const. Bill Kim, Coquitlam NOW November 5, 2010
Honour, integrity, courage, respect: to many, these are just words, but to others these words exemplify who they are.
On an overcast afternoon, in an open parking lot adjacent to the Justice Institute of B.C. in New Westminster, I, along with a respectable representation from the Port Moody Police Department and a sizable number of first responders watched as a BC Air Ambulance and Air 2 helicopters opened a tribute to Honour House, which is opening in New Westminster on Nov. 10.
What is Honour House? It is a place where first responders such as police, firefighters, paramedics and members of our armed forces, along with their families, can go to recover after suffering serious injuries in the line of duty.
There were many speeches by dignitaries and officials, but a quiet side comment made by a little girl encapsulated the reason why this Honour House is so important: "My daddy is a hero who hurt himself helping others," she said, "and this is a place where he can get better."
During this event, I observed different first responder agencies mingling with each other, and I saw two police officers from France among them. They seemed amazed at the event and gave a welcoming wave when thanked for their attendance at this tribute.
I think the vast majority of first responders would rather do their jobs in relative anonymity without the fanfare and notoriety, but it is nice to get this recognition.
Are we perfect? No. Do we make mistakes? Of course we do. We are no different than anyone else. We have families and friends, we shop in the same stores and we go to the same restaurants as everyone else.
It is not just the police, firefighters and armed forces who lose personnel -- on Oct. 19, two seasoned paramedics with the BC Ambulance Service lost their lives on Vancouver Island when their ambulance went over the Pacific Rim Highway curb into Kennedy Lake.
Jo-Ann Fuller was a 23-year veteran, married and a mother to three grown children. Ivan Polivka was a 14-year veteran who had dreams of fishing upon retirement. This was truly a tragic loss, and they will be greatly missed by family, friends, colleagues and the community they served.
Nov. 11 is a very special day -- it is Remembrance Day, a day that we should never forget.
This day pays tribute and homage to those individuals who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Great War (the First World War), the Second World War, the Korean War, other conflicts and the war in Afghanistan, so that we can all live free.
These individuals also had families and friends. They shopped in the same stores and went to the same restaurants as everyone else.
Nov. 10 and 11 are two very special days, and it is appropriate that they stand shoulder to shoulder marking those events.
Honour House is a fitting acknowledgement to the first responders, who, day in and day out, go into harm's way so that the rest of society is safe.
Wear a poppy with pride, lest we forget -- ever.
Until next time.