The late Skyler Blackie was honoured in Truro through a fundraiser for fallen first responders Saturday.
The Canada’s 911 Ride’s Atlantic mission is raising money for Skyler’s family, as well as two Fredericton police officers who died in the line of duty last year. The ride itself will occur on June 8- 9 in Cape Breton.
“I loved him,” said Skyler’s younger brother Errison Blackie. “We all loved him and he was a huge part of this department and part of the community. He loved the job – we told each other that every day.”
The May 25 fundraiser saw police, firefighters and paramedics show off their gear to children and families, including the Truro Fire Service’s extendable crane truck. The Garda World security firm also put one of their armoured trucks on display and guests lined up for refreshments at the barbecue.
Bible Hill RCMP and Truro Police Service allowed children to sit in their cars and activate the lights and sirens, while Errison Blackie and his fellow firefighters taught them how to work the hoses.
It was a somewhat poignant moment for Errison, as his brother did the same thing with children during an open day at their fire hall last year.
“Something I’d want to tell future first responders: be prepared for the job but I promise you, you’ll never regret a day going to work,” said Blackie. “You love it, you look forward to it and it’s really the best job in the world.” said Errison.
The love was shared by Hope Lewis and her young daughter Paeton. She recounted how her best friend’s father, a volunteer firefighter, “did not hesitate,” when entering a burning building in Debert.
“This little one wants to be a firefighter, doctor and a police [officer] when she grows up, so we like to bring her here and hear the sirens and not be scared when she hears them out on the street, or if they come to help her,” said Lewis.
For RCMP officer Lorilee Morash, helping people like Hope and Paeton Lewis is the essence of policing.
“Policing was always a dream of mine since I was a small child,” said Morash. “It’s all I ever wanted to be.”
Money raised by this year’s ride will also assist children who are the victims of violent crimes. Organizers also want to make public-access defibrillators more readily at hand, in memory of fallen first responders.
For more information, please visit http://www.canadas911ride.com/atlantic-ride.html.