Fifth and final stamp in Emergency Responders issue concludes week-long celebration
On a wall on the second floor of the Ottawa Police Association’s headquarters, 14 plaques and short biographies remember Ottawa officers who lost their lives in the line of duty.
One, Const. David Kirkwood, inspired the Canadian Police and Peace Officers’ National Memorial on Parliament Hill. He was 21 when he was shot in 1977 while executing an arrest warrant, leaving behind a pregnant young wife. The next year, the national memorial honoured 14 officers. Today, it displays the names of 870.
To give one’s life is the ultimate sacrifice, but to serve and protect as a police officer brings with it many other sacrifices. It’s why police and the civilian police services employees who support them are honoured by one of the five stamps in Canada Post’s Emergency Responders issue.
Four other stamps honouring paramedics, the Canadian Armed Forces, search and rescue experts and firefighters were released earlier in the week in Fredericton, CFB Valcartier, Banff, and Halifax. The police stamp unveiling in Ottawa concludes a week-long celebration of Canadian responders.
The five-stamp issue celebrates the brave individuals who protect and assist Canadians and visitors to our country during times of emergency.
Ottawa’s Deputy Mayor Bob Monette says Ottawa and Gatineau police officers “have seen their share of tragedy” and are a testament to the courage that officers across Canada display every day in protecting citizens.
“Some have made the ultimate sacrifice on duty,” says Monette. “Thankfully, police are there for us whenever we need them. We are blessed.”
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Liberal MP Steven MacKinnon was at the event to represent Carla Qualtrough, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, and the minister responsible for Canada Post. The MP for Gatineau recalls the story of Ottawa’s “Sewer Boy,” who was 15 when he fell off a ladder and was swept away in sewage. He travelled about a kilometre underground before coming to a stop in a collector pipe – almost 20 metres below ground and metres from certain death.
“The newspaper published a partial list of the responders who took part in the rescue – all the names reporters could collect before deadline. There were more than 80 responders on that list, all on a mission to save a single life,” MacKinnon said.
To him, that local story captures the selflessness and teamwork of our emergency responders.
“When people are frantic and the scene is chaotic, you provide stability – and hope,” he said. “On behalf of all Canadians – thank you for caring. Thank you for keeping us safe. Thank you for having our backs.”
All five stamps in the issue are for sale at postal outlets across the country and at canadapost.ca