NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
Donna Hancock paid tribute to the RCMP officer she says saved her life by organizing the second annual Walk a Mile in His Shoes.
“You were always there for everyone and your community Trevor — you were an amazing human being. You were the first person in my life to build me up,” she said.
Hancock organized the memorial walk last year in Cpl. Trevor O’Keefe’s memory. This year the Walk A Mile in His Shoes event also honoured first responders and Victoria Best.
“I wanted to have Victoria, and Victoria’s family a part of this this year because she lost her battle to mental health,” Hancock said. “She was a big part of this community.”
Roughly 120 participants attended and showed their support through the walk.
In referring back to O’Keefe, Hancock said, “That man (Cpl. O’ Keefe) treated everyone with respect. This is the core of what he was all about. He was so much more than that RCMP uniform.”
Hancock was emotional as she shared the story of how O’Keefe saved her life, along with many others.
The walk included a stop at Elizabeth Swan Park where a ceremony and presentation of a bench and garden dedicated to O’ Keefe and Best was held.
“This bench is a spot to go to and if you see someone there sitting alone, stop and ask how they are doing and really listen about how they’re doing,” Hancock said.
The walk concluded at the Clarenville Police Detachment. Members of O’Keefe’s family were in attendance for the event, including his parents, two children, sister and uncle.
Hancock is hoping by next year’s memorial walk to have a Memorial University scholarship established in memory of O’ Keefe, who died in September of 2017.
In total, $20,302 was raised, with organizations such as the Canada Mental Health Association, Clarenville Mental Health Wellness Warriors and Pawsology among those receiving the funds raised. A 50/50 prize of $113 was drawn and donated back to the Canadian Mental Health Association. The Women’s Correctional Centre donated a handmade quilt that raised $968.
“It’s going to go across the province,” Hancock said as she plans on adding communities over the next year to expand the walk, with Gander and Carbonear in the works.
Hancock extended thanks to everyone for coming out and supporting the walk.
“I can’t begin to describe how much support I’ve gotten from everyone and the community,” she said. “What they’ve done for me is amazing.”