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Acts of courage

“I would like for people to know that Dave left doing what he loved, doing the best that he could do as an officer and protecting everyone within his community.”    – Shelly MacInnis-Wynn

The widow of RCMP Const. David Wynn, their two sons and Auxiliary Const. Derek Bond were once again in the spotlight as the police force honoured the St. Albert Mountie and auxiliary constable who were gunned down inside a local casino in January 2015.

The foursome was on hand at a recent ceremony, saluting the heroics of 17 recipients of the RCMP Commissioner’s Bravery Award, including Wynn who was shot by career criminal Shawn Rehn while investigating a stolen truck. The officer died in hospital a few days later.

Bond, who was shot in the arm and torso, survived. The retired auxiliary constable made the trek from B.C., where he now lives, to be recognized for his bravery in a shooting that rocked the community more than four years ago.

“As I was lying on the ground ... knowing I was still alive, I was probably most fearful that the guy was going to look at me, see that I was still alive and put a round into me again,” said Bond, recalling the tragic incident. The fear did not stop the officer from grabbing a radio and calling for help. That response in the face of adversity is the definition of courage and one that is rightly deserving of acknowledgement from his peers and St. Albertans.

His recovery has not been easy as he has battled post-traumatic stress disorder following the ordeal. Speaking publicly about PTSD and its life-altering effects is another courageous move for the retired officer who experienced a horrific crime. Hopefully, his bravery will inspire others who are struggling. 

Wynn’s sons – Matthew, 19, and Nathan, 18 – proudly accepted the award on behalf of their father.

“It was very emotional but a very proud moment,” MacInnis-Wynn told the Gazette following the ceremony in Edmonton.

The mother of two has also displayed an impressive level of courage since losing her husband.

In June 2016, she made an emotional and powerful plea to the Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee to pass a bill, known as “Wynn’s Law,” which aimed to alter the wording of the Criminal Code to make it mandatory for a prosecutor to disclose a suspect’s criminal history during a bail application.

While the proposed legislation was eventually defeated in the House of Commons in 2017, the strength shown by a grieving Shelly while sharing the devastation that resulted from Rehn’s heinous act is an inspiration to this day.

Courage can come in various forms. It took courage beyond measure for Bond and Wynn to do what they did that day at the Apex Casino, and for Bond to continue on after he had been shot by a murderous criminal. It took tremendous courage for Shelly and her boys to pick up the pieces and begin pushing for change on a federal level. And although Wynn’s Law was defeated, change still needs to happen.

That, too, will take courage.

Editorials are the consensus view of the St. Albert Gazette’s editorial board.