By Frank Peebles
It took the mighty Richmond Olympic Oval to contain the outpouring of grief and affection for fallen RCMP Const. Shaelyn Yang. A contingent from Quesnel was in that enormous room.
More than 2,000 RCMP members attended the regimental funeral for the 31-year-old Mountie who was killed in the line of duty in October. Her service was held on Nov. 2.
In addition to the sea of royal constabulary red, the colours of various fire and paramedics departments, Canadian Armed Forces, municipal police, and American first responders also swelled the ranks of well-wishers and colleagues. This is typical of the attendance for services commemorating fallen emergency personnel, where unaffiliated departments become conjoined by deep professional condolences.
The Quesnel RCMP’s media liaison, Sgt. Clay Kronebusch, had prescheduled training that kept him from attending Const. Yang’s tribute, but “four members took the time to go down and be there,” he said.
“A lot of it is based on our operational demands at the time,” Kronebusch explained. “I know some of the members who went down were on their days off, so they weren’t required to work, and we had a lot of members who wanted to attend but couldn’t because they had to stay and be on duty or other commitments, but usually notice goes out and we try to get people freed up to go.”
He knows members who even went to the United States to represent the RCMP at similar services across the border. The first responder family has no nationality.
“It’s one of those things that’s always hard when you lose a fellow officer. It’s a sad day. I know some of those who went down, it hits them hard, there are a lot of emotions, but just seeing the overwhelming support from the community and other police forces, fire departments, ambulance, who attended as well, people come back with a camaraderie. It brings that up. It’s nice to see that support. You know, sometimes our jobs are thankless, so it’s always nice to see that from the communities.”
Northern BC’s many communities had other Mounties take the time and investment to attend as well. North District RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Madonna Saunderson told the Observer that exact numbers were impossible to derive, but “there were members from the North District who travelled south to attend the funeral of Const. Yang,” and even those who could not physically go were affected.
“Those who were able to attend were joined in spirit by those who, for various reasons, including resources at detachment level to respond to calls for service, were unable to attend,” Saunderson said. “There is a book of condolences being compiled for those wishing to offer sympathies.”
As the community went through the Remembrance Day commemorations so soon after Const. Yang’s funeral, it was a time when the entire province, alongside Quesnel, gave particular consideration to the ultimate sacrifices made by the men and women in uniform who take on danger as part of their daily job so that regular civilians don’t have to.
Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.