Police forces say thanks to Josh Cochrane

Young Yar­mouthian touched many with his trib­ute to Fred­er­ic­ton shoot­ing vic­tims

Tri-County Vanguard - - NEWS - ERIC BOURQUE AND TINA COMEAU THEVANGUARD.CA

Josh Cochrane was in for a pleas­ant sur­prise when he ar­rived at the head­quar­ters of the Tri-County Fly­ing As­so­ci­a­tion at the Yar­mouth air­port.

The 12-year-old re­ceived a spe­cial gift – a box­ful of coins, badges and other items – from police forces that wanted to show Cochrane their ap­pre­ci­a­tion for his trib­ute to the vic­tims of this sum­mer’s shoot­ing in Fred­er­ic­ton. Two of the four peo­ple who were killed in the Au­gust shoot­ing were police of­fi­cers.

Cochrane had been so moved and sad­dened by the tragedy that he ex­pressed him­self in one of the best ways he knows – by singing. He found a ver­sion of the Leonard Co­hen song Hal­lelu­jah that Brit­tney Bil­liot of Louisiana had pre­vi­ously writ­ten, sung and posted about police of­fi­cers. He found the song so beau­ti­ful and fit­ting he de­cided to ex­press his feel­ings by singing it, chang­ing some of the lyrics slightly as a fur­ther trib­ute to those who lost their lives in Fred­er­ic­ton on Aug. 10.

Killed in the shoot­ing were police con­sta­bles Sara Burns, 43, and Robb Costello, 45, and Fred­er­ic­ton res­i­dents Don­ald Ro­bichaud, 42, and Bob­bie Lee Wright, 32.

Among those who were moved by Cochrane’s trib­ute was Amy Floyd, an RCMP of­fi­cer in Bri­tish Co­lum­bia. Floyd is based in Prince Ge­orge, but she’s orig­i­nally from New Brunswick and went to univer­sity in Fred­er­ic­ton.

“The shoot­ing hit home for me ob­vi­ously for a lot of rea­sons,” she said. “When I saw (Cochrane’s) video, it was sort of like a light on a dark day.”

Floyd con­tacted Ann Har­ring­ton, Cochrane’s mother, on Face­book to thank her for shar­ing his video, say­ing it had touched a lot of peo­ple.

“I said I wanted to do some­thing spe­cial for Josh as a thank you from my­self and from other police of­fi­cers,” Floyd said. “I reached out to a cou­ple of friends and it turned into some­thing far more than I ever ex­pected. I guess it goes to show the im­pact Josh has had on ev­ery­body.”

On the af­ter­noon of Nov. 27, Cochrane’s mother brought him to the Tri-County Fly­ing As­so­ci­a­tion’s club­house. Har­ring­ton is in­volved in the Civil Air Search and Res­cue As­so­ci­a­tion (CASARA). She told him she had to be there be­cause she was on standby for a po­ten­tial searc­hand-res­cue mis­sion and that he needed to go with her be­cause there wasn’t go­ing to be any­one at home.

When they ar­rived, ev­ery­thing seemed set up for a search so Cochrane had no idea some­thing else was up. His mother sug­gested he call Floyd – with whom Cochrane had be­come friends since the post­ing of his video – so that he wouldn’t be bored while wait­ing for his mom at the fly­ing club.

While chat­ting with Floyd, Cochrane was told there was some­one she wanted him to meet, which is when Sgt. Ben Parry – com­mand­ing of­fi­cer of the Yar­mouth ru­ral RCMP – and two other Moun­ties ar­rived with Cochrane’s gift.

Inside the hefty con­tainer, Cochrane found a va­ri­ety of items from police forces across Canada, in­clud­ing about 230 chal­lenge coins. (Floyd had learned that Cochrane loves col­lect­ing these coins.) Among them were coins from the RCMP com­mis­sioner and from the com­mand­ing of­fi­cers of most of the RCMP’s di­vi­sions.

Floyd later told the Van­guard, “peo­ple gave their own per­sonal (coins) to him, so there’s quite a bit of mean­ing be­hind each one. I’m go­ing to sit down and video chat with him at some point and go over what each one is and who it’s from.”

The box con­tained other items too, in­clud­ing shoul­der flashes (or badges). There were some items from the United States as well.

Cochrane said he was over­whelmed by it all.

“When I did the trib­ute for Const. Burns and Const. Costello, I never re­al­ized how many lives I would touch,” he said. “I never re­al­ized how many new friends would come into my life and how many more peo­ple would be added to my ex­tended fam­ily.”

One of those friends, of course, is Floyd and Cochrane said he’s very grate­ful for what she did for him.

“She works very hard to keep peo­ple safe and I am so proud of her for what she does,” he said.

While Floyd was the one who or­ga­nized the ef­fort be­hind Cochrane’s spe­cial gift, she said it wasn’t hard to get peo­ple on board. “Ba­si­cally, any­body who had heard about it wanted to be in­cluded in it,” she said.

The end re­sult was what Cochrane called “the most amaz­ing day ever ... a dream come true.”

ERIC BOURQUE

Josh Cochrane looks on as Sgt. Ben Parry of the Yar­mouth ru­ral RCMP opens one of the many items that were in a gift box de­liv­ered to Cochrane Nov. 27. The box con­tained coins, shoul­der flashes and other things from police ser­vices across Canada. It was in ap­pre­ci­a­tion of Cochrane’s trib­ute to the vic­tims of this past sum­mer’s shoot­ing in Fred­er­ic­ton, two of whom were police of­fi­cers.

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