RCMP salutes history's unsung heroes

Former members' wives honoured with Second Man Award

TORONTO, Dec. 3, 2013 /CNW/ - A ceremony was held on Sunday, December 1, 2013, in which Assistant Commissioner Stephen White, Commanding Officer of the 'O' Division RCMP, and the President of the Toronto RCMP Veterans' Association, retired Staff Sergeant Fred Fitzsimmons, paid tribute to the wives of RCMP members who helped to support their husbands' policing careers while living in some of the country's most isolated communities.

Irene Copp, Donna Morrison, and Diane O'Reilly received the Second Man Award - an honorary, silver brooch with the RCMP's crest, and a certificate of appreciation from the RCMP Commissioner. The creation of the Second Man Award was approved by the RCMP in October 2010.  The contributions are chronicled in the 2004 book, "When the Second Man was a Woman," by Ruth Lee-Knight, the inspiration behind the Second Man Award.

Thirteen women will be honoured in three separate presentations across 'O' Division, with a total 468 recipients across the country.  They are being honoured for the often unrecognized support they provided to the RCMP from the 1900s onwards. Each of their stories outlines unique challenges and hardships they endured while on post, often living in inadequate housing and with growing families of their own to tend to.

During this period of the Force's history, women often performed a range of duties in support of police operations, from answering phones, to searching female prisoners, and providing prisoner meals. Their homes often served as the accommodations for visiting RCMP senior officers, judges, doctors and nurses to whom they also provided meals and entertainment.

"It is an honour to have three remarkable women here with us today so that we can personally thank them for their many important contributions." says A/Commr. White.   "Their selfless support of their spouses and communities is something that deserves our recognition and admiration."

Also on hand for the 'O' Division presentation was S/S/M Rob Akin who served as Masters of Ceremonies.  The RCMP Veterans' Association National Office in Ottawa was responsible for communicating with veterans across the country to solicit nominations for the award.

For photos please visit the RCMP 'O' Division (Ontario) Newsroom.

SOURCE: Royal Canadian Mounted Police

For further information:

Media Contact:

Sgt. Richard Rollings
RCMP Media Relations
"O" Division (Ontario)

Twitter: @RCMPONT
Facebook: RCMP.Ontario
Website: RCMP in Ontario


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