Women in Defence and Security Memorial Scholarship Award

Honouring a fallen officer, investing in promising women

OTTAWA, March 6, 2014 /CNW/ - Vera Reifenstein, President of Women in Defence and Security (WiDS), joined by the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and RCMP Acting Deputy Commissioner Janice Armstrong, today announced the recipient of the WiDS annual Memorial Scholarship award:

"Today we honour the memory of a fallen officer from law enforcement, Constable Della Beyak of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Constable Beyak embodied the best of women in defence and security - intelligence, ambition, and commitment to her community. In 1989, she would sacrifice her life while responding to a fatal motor vehicle accident in a snowstorm, becoming the first female RCMP officer to die in the line of duty," said Ms. Reifenstein.

"We express our deep gratitude for the sacrifices of women like Constable Beyak in keeping our families safe and making our communities better places to live and work. Public Safety Canada commends Women in Defence and Security for their work in encouraging women to pursue careers related to security and defence in Canada," said Minister Blaney.

"Every day, female members of the RCMP put on their uniform with pride and resolve, and go on with their duty of serving and protecting Canadians. Their path was paved by young women like Constable Beyak, and many others. Today honours the memory of those who choose to serve and is a reminder of the great sacrifices that come with that choice," said Acting Deputy Commissioner Janice Armstrong.

"We recognize the qualities it took for Constable Beyak to join the ranks of the RCMP, and seek to encourage women like her in the fields of defence and security. That is why I am so pleased to announce that Women in Defence and Security will support the studies of Leah Sherriff, who served ten years as an Armoured Officer with the Royal Canadian Dragoons. The 2014 WiDS Memorial Scholarship award will contribute $5,000 as she pursues her legal studies at the University of Toronto," added Ms. Reifenstein.

The 2014 WiDS Memorial Scholarship Awards brought together prominent members of the defence and security field, including the RCMP, the Department of National Defence, the City of Ottawa Emergency and Protective Services and numerous industry representatives. WiDS was also honoured to receive Cst. Beyak's family, who consider the WiDS Memorial Scholarship to be a fitting tribute to her memory.

WiDS is a volunteer organization whose primary goal is the advancement of women leaders in defence and security professions across Canada.

A backgrounder on the WiDS scholarship, as well as biographical notes on Honouree Cst. Della Beyak and Recipient Leah Sherriff, can be found at www.wids.ca.

Follow Women in Defence and Security (@WiDS_Canada) on Twitter.

SOURCE: Women in Defense and Security

For further information:

Vera Reifenstein
President, WiDS

Erika Paulson
VP Communications, WiDS

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