Happy to help

Val­ley res­i­dent Gerry Tucker re­ceives pres­ti­gious medal for con­tribut­ing decades of vol­un­teer ser­vice

Truro Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - TRURO DAILY NEWs

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.

HARRY suL­LI­VAN – tRuRO DAILY NEWs

Val­ley res­i­dent Gerry Tucker is seen be­ing pre­sented with the Gov­er­nor Gen­eral’s Sov­er­eign’s Medal for Vol­un­teers from Colch­ester County Mayor Chris­tine Blair.

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