Happy to help
Valley resident Gerry Tucker receives prestigious medal for contributing decades of volunteer service
A Valley resident has been recognized by the Governor General’s office with the prestigious Sovereign’s Medal to acknowledge decades of volunteer efforts.
“My uncle marched me up to the legion in Stellarton and made me join,” said Gerry Tucker, 65, of his membership with the Royal Canadian Legion that dates back to age 19.
After graduating from high school, Tucker had applied to both the Canadian military and the RCMP. About a month after joining the Stellarton legion, and before he could get really active, however, he got called up by the RCMP and went into training at the depot in Saskatchewan.
Throughout 16 postings in various parts of Canada during a 40-year career with the RCMP, Tucker has remained a legion member, including in Truro where he is current past president following two years at the helm.
But his volunteer efforts go far beyond even the countless hours he has committed to legion efforts.
Those selfless acts took seat as a young RCMP officer posted to Lewisporte, N.L.
As a former air cadet “when I was a kid” Tucker shared his interest with the cadets in Lewisporte by teaching them shooting skills in the basement of a local school.
“So that’s where I really started my volunteering,” he said. From there he was posted to Ottawa and then Saint Andrews, N.B., where he “helped out a bit” with legions in those communities.
He also became involved in minor hockey activities as well as with the Lions Club.
With the Lions, in Goose Bay, N.L., he initiated an effort collecting clothing for under-privileged Inuit children living in the remote, northern coastal communities.
Tucker’s next posting took him
to Sydney, Cape Breton, where he became involved with the Torch Run for Special Olympics after witnessing a sight he couldn’t bear.
“I was at the Games there and the athletes were there with holes in their shirts and all that…” he said. After striking up a conversation with a like-minded member of the Cape Breton Regional Police, they began a fundraising effort for the Special Olympics athletes. When he later transferred to the Bible Hill detachment in 1992, Tucker became the area co-ordinator for central Nova Scotia for the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run, a position he held until 2006, at which point he was transferred to Calgary.
“And we raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Special Olympics in Nova Scotia,” he said.
In 2000 he volunteered to go to as a United Nations peacekeeper for a nine-month stint in Kosovo where thousands of ethnic cleansing deaths were occurring.
By that point in his RCMP career,
Tucker was involved in the forensic identification unit and he was placed in charge of a forensic unit in Mitrovica.
That experience led to him being asked to go to Thailand (one of eight RCMP officers) following the devastating tsunami that struck on Boxing Day, 2004, where he was once again placed in charge of a forensic identification team.
“We were there two weeks identifying human remains. And it was so nice to be able to do that,” he said.
“That was really gratifying. Like, when you see people walk out with their loved one and you know they wouldn’t have found them if you didn’t identify them.”
While those international efforts were somewhat duty related, the vast majority of Tucker’s volunteer work has been on his own time. All has been gratifying, he said, and his services continue to be offered up where he can.
Valley resident Gerry Tucker is seen being presented with the Governor General’s Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers from Colchester County Mayor Christine Blair.