An extended family, brought together to pay their respects to three fallen brothers.
Members of the RCMP, emergency personnel, and other Kelowna residents gathered at the Trinity Baptist Church to remember mounties Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, Douglas James Larche and Dave Joseph Ross.
The constables were gunned down after responding to a report of a man with firearms in a residential neighbourhood of Moncton, New Brunswick last Wednesday.
Superintendent Nick Romanchuk says the RCMP is a family who supports one another and helps each another get through difficult times.
“Everybody is very saddened by what’s happened, we will certainly never forget, but we have a job to do as well,” he says. “I am extremely proud of my members of the work they have done over the last week, these difficult times. The members who passed away will never be far from our minds; as I say we have a job to do and we will carry on and we will do that.”
Inside the church around 200 people gathered to watch a live stream of the funeral from Moncton, silently mourning those who lost their lives in the line of duty.
Tim Schroeder, the Kelowna RCMP Chaplain, has been helping members during this tough time as several Kelowna officers were troop mates of the three fallen mounties.
“It strikes close to home, there is a real spirit of somberness that has sort of been felt for the last week,” he says. “I think what happens at a time like this is sort of the presence. You are together, you hang together, you support each other.”
During the service Roger Brown, the assistant commissioner of the RCMP in New Brunswick, addressed the large Moncton audience and spoke of how the three men did not hesitate to put themselves in harm’s way for the safety of others saying that is why they were incredible.
The husbands, wives ,parents and children of RCMP members who were in attendance in Kelowna, heard Brown’s words loud and clear. They acknowledged that every time they see a family member walk out the door to serve and protect, their loved one is putting their life on the line.
Gail Harrison’s daughter is currently a member with the Kelowna detachment, and her husband is a retired officer. She says that families cannot worry too much, because their concerns will follow their loved ones while on the job.
“They need to let them do their job and we all know that this kind of stuff can happen to any police person out there. It could happen to any first responder and those guys know that going out the door everyday, they just need to be safe.”
Lorraine Andrews agrees.
While she worries about the safety of her son, a RCMP officer in Alberta, she knows he is doing a job he loves.
“It’s unnerving (times like this), you think about your own and the family, just how it could happen to anybody at anytime.”
It is estimated that 7,000 RCMP officers and first responders attended the service in Moncton, while throughout the country Canadians wore red, the colour of the Mounties uniform.