Fallen Surrey RCMP Const. Adrian Oliver received a full regimental funeral on Tuesday – second only in significance to a state funeral.
Oliver, 28, died when his police cruiser collided with a semi-trailer truck in Surrey on Nov. 13. He had served with the Surrey detachment for three years.
At his funeral service, held in the 5,500-seat Langley Events Centre, was row upon row of red serge, as RCMP officers from detachments across the Lower Mainland and Canada came to pay homage to their colleague.
Also in attendance were customs officers and border guards, sheriffs, municipal police officers, firefighters, paramedics, coast guard members, fisheries officers, and numerous provincial, federal and international dignitaries – some from as far away as Australia.
RCMP Chaplain Jim Turner presided over the service.
Oliver was remembered for his incredible smile and his warm and giving personality. Chief Supt. Andrew Boland, a close friend of the family, told the crowd heard that both he and his twin brother Ben Oliver wanted to be RCMP officers from a young age.
“I’ve often said, ‘there are people the RCMP needs and there are people who need the RCMP.’ In Adrian’s case, the RCMP needed him,” Boland said.
RCMP Const. Ben Oliver struggled for composure as he described his loss.
“I’ve lost my best friend in the whole world,” said Oliver. “In 28 years of life, Adrian and I have only been apart for a total of 12 months. Adrian, thank you for showing me how to be a better son, friend, brother and person. I love you.”
Oliver’s fiancee Shelagh Mitchell, who is also an RCMP constable, said she knew Oliver was the one for her the moment she laid eyes on him at Depot (the RCMP training facility in Regina, Sask.).
“Adrian, your kindness inspires me to be a better person, your goofiness reminds me to be a kid at heart and your dedication reminds me to be the best at what I do,” Mitchell said through tears.
Turner ended the service with a poignant quote from retired Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. George Hahn:
“I never dreamed it would be me,
My name for all eternity.
Recorded here at this hallowed place,
Alas, my name, no more my face.
In the line of duty I hear them say,
My family now the price will pay.
My folded flag stained with their tears,
We only had those few short years.
The badge no longer on my chest,
I sleep now in eternal rest.
My sword I pass to those behind,
And pray they keep this thought in mind,
I never dreamed it would be me,
And with heavy heart and bended knee,
I ask for all here from the past,
Dear God, let my name be the last…”