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Murdered Mountie honoured at Ridge Meadows RCMP awards gala

Rick O’Brien Youth Engagement Awards were 2 of the 18 awards handed out

The legacy of Const. Rick O’Brien will live on, in part thanks to the two awards posthumously named after the late Mountie, which were given out at the recent Ridge Meadows RCMP awards banquet.

A total of 18 awards were given out on April 6, which RCMP spokesperson Const. Tisha Parsons explained was a night dedicated to recognizing the contributions of local police officers, volunteers, and city employees.

The Rick O’Brien Youth Engagement Awards, which were presented to two different groups, pay homage to what O’Brien’s wife Nicole Longacre-O’Brien described as his lifelong quest to “make positive change and create lasting relationships between youth and law enforcement.”

One of the groups to win a Rick O’Brien Youth Engagement Award was the Ridge Family Youth and Resources Support Team, which is comprised of Samantha French, Danielle Bosma, and Const. Parsons.

Parsons said the group was given the award for “playing a crucial role in building resilience among young people and fostering positive relationships with their peers, school, and family.”

READ ALSO: Memorial ball hockey tournament in Maple Ridge honours murdered Mountie

The duo of Const. Sukhpreet Haer and Const. Ben Stephens was given the Perseverance in an Investigation Award for their efforts in bringing down a prolific offender in Maple Ridge.

“The offender injured a civilian while attempting to evade police but Constables Haer and Stephens worked to ensure the safety of the civilian while taking the suspect into custody,” said Parsons.

Const. Shaveta Gahunia was given the spotlight for her actions, which proved that even when off the clock, a police officer is always ready and willing to help.

During a fire last year, Const. Gahunia came across the scene while off-duty, but entered the burning building to help individuals still inside, which earned her one of the Bravery Awards.

A couple of volunteers were also singled out for their contributions to the community, including John Petty who has been a volunteer with the Ridge Meadows RCMP for more than 30 years and was named the Crime Prevention Volunteer of the Year.

“Ridge Meadows RCMP extends their sincerest thanks to all attendees and profound gratitude to all officers, municipal support staff, and volunteers for everything they do to keep the Ridge Meadows community safe,” said Const. Parsons.

READ ALSO: Man accused of shooting Maple Ridge Mountie appears in court

The total list of award winners includes:

• Heather Kazcor (Employee of the Year)

• Martyn Garner (Employee of the Year)

• Crime Prevention Unit (Community Spirit)

• Lynn Rajala (Victim Services Volunteer of the Year)

• John Petty (Crime Prevention Volunteer of the Year)

• Corp. Jasmeet Tiwana and Const. Daniel Losiak (Perseverance in an Investigation)

• Const. Sukh Haer and Const. Ben Stephens (Perseverance in an Investigation)

• Serious Crimes Unit (Perseverance in an Investigation)

• Const. Anthony Duggan and Const. Michael Turner (Bravery)

• Const. Shaveta Gahunia (Bravery)

• B Watch (Bravery)

• A Watch, IST, Street Enforcement Unit (Bravery)

• Serg. Brad Gibson (Positive Impact on Detachment)

• Const. Jordan Shields and Corp. Peter Westra (Community Spirit)

• Const. Michael Sanders (Rick O’Brien Youth Engagement)

• Ridge Family Youth and Resources Support Team (Rick O’Brien Youth Engagement)

• Road Safety Target Team (Professionalism While Attending a Call for Service)

• Administration Team (Outstanding Impact to the Detachment)

Brandon Tucker

About the Author: Brandon Tucker

I have been a journalist since 2013, with much of my career spent covering sports and entertainment stories in Alberta.
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