Monument honours fallen Surrey RCMP officers

NEWTON — Canada’s largest RCMP detachment unveiled a new monument in Surrey Friday morning to honour local Mounties who have lost their lives while on duty.

The monument, at the entrance of the Surrey RCMP detachment building in Newton, contains the names of five constables.

Const. Archie Lepine, originally from Saskatchewan, was posted to the Pattullo Bridge detachment in July 1960. He died July 19, 1962, after his motorcycle collided with a delivery truck on what was then called King George Highway.

Const. Roger Pierlet hailed from Montreal. He was posted to the Cloverdale detachment. On March 29, 1974, while working what was supposed to be his last shift before he was to get married, he was shot dead after stopping a car in Cloverdale.

The two killers were originally sentenced to death, but these were commuted to life sentences after capital punishment was abolished in Canada in 1976. An overpass in Cloverdale is named after Pierlet, in his honor.

Const. John Terry Draginda was born in the Northwest Territories. On Sept. 29, 1974, Draginda was responding to serious motorcycle crash at 152nd Street and 96th Avenue when his patrol car collided with another vehicle, and as a result he and two people in the other car lost their lives. He is buried in Edmonton.

Const. John Baldwinson, born in Gimli, Manitoba, was an outstanding athlete. He died on Oct. 28, 1975, when his patrol car collided with a horse that had wandered onto the roadway late that night.

Most recently, Const. Adrian Oliver was killed on Nov. 13, 2012, when his patrol car collided with a truck at the intersection of 64th Avenue and 148th Street. The annual Adrian Oliver Memorial Run is in Burnaby tomorrow (Nov. 15).

RCMP brass and families of the fallen officers attended the consecration ceremony of the large stone memorial.

"It’s customary for cultures and societies to set up stones of remembrance," said RCMP Chaplain Jim Turner. "Oftentimes those stones of remembrance are boundaries. They say ‘Go here, and no further.’ This will serve as a lasting remembrance that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Surrey maintain the right, and they are a boundary against all manner of disorder.

"Those stones of remembrance are not without great cost. They’re also a reminder of the price that’s paid. Ensuring safe homes and safe communities, there’s an incredibly high price that’s paid. First, by those members who have lost their lives in the line of duty, and then by the families who have lost loved ones and continue to pay the price in grief and sorrow over loss."

Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts helped unveil the memorial.

"As we unveil this dedication I know that in many times, in many moments, it will be a place of solace for families and members to come and pay their tribute and think about the ultimate sacrifice that these fallen officers have given," Watts said.

Assistant RCMP Commissioner Dan Malo called it a "timeless memorial.

"They have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of the City of Surrey, the province of British Columbia and Canada," he said. "As the years go on, the memories of each officer will live on here today and forever. They are not forgotten and will never be forgotten."

Chief Supt. Bill Fordy, in charge of the Surrey detachment, said it was an honour to pay tribute to his fellow Mounties.

"I’m grateful for their commitment to this city. There are, sadly, some of those that lose their lives while doing this job. Their families, some of whom are here today, feel the pain of their losses every day. This public memorial is a small way for us to honour those men, and to honor their families."

Ves Vukovic, founder of Stonemarks in South Surrey, built the monument. He’s originally from Serbia, and said his family has been in the monument-building business for 450 years and that he began this project for the RCMP roughly two years ago.

Friday’s unveiling was a proud moment, he said. "Very proud, very proud."

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

OBITUARY: Sherrold Haddad brought giant Canadian flag to Surrey car dealership, built community

‘An amazing man, business person and community leader,’ friend Bruce Hayne posted to Facebook

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock, Delta and beyond

MARCH 28: Delta council passes bylaw to fine people who don’t socially distance

White Rock council members stand by decision to close pier

Minimal push-back over closure to minimize chance of spreading COVID-19 virus

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

B.C. Ferries passengers staying away, as asked, during COVID-19 pandemic

Ferry corporation says ridership down 70-80 per cent over the last week and a half

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

COVID-19 world update: Enforceable quarantine in NYC?; France orders 1 billion masks

Spain warns EU’s future at stake; New York governor calls Trump’s idea ‘federal declaration of war

Blue ribbons popping up along streets in Abbotsford in praise of B.C. healthcare workers

Healthcare worker’s family starts local trend of morale support

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

Most Read