A recent addition to the Ponoka RCMP detachment will be taking on a newly-created administrative role.
Cst. Grant Belich is now the veteran liaison in a new initiative to reach out to former RCMP members in the community.
Cst. Belich had his first shift in Ponoka on Nov. 4, 2019.
He was born and raised in Surrey, B.C. After completing his six months of training at the RCMP Academy, Depot Division in Regina, Sask, he was given his first post in Ponoka.
The new program will encourage former RCMP officers to identify themselves so they can take part in RCMP outreach and social events.
Belich says the idea is to let veterans know they are thought of as, “just because they retire, they’re not forgotten and we do still care for them.”
The activities may include joining the members in a parade for Remembrance Day or the Ponoka Stampede, as well as lunches or other social meetings or events. They will also be added to the annual Christmas card mailing list.
All RCMP members perform multiple administrative roles within the detachment and in the community to involve and engage them with the people they serve.
The new role was created by Ponoka detachment commander Staff Sgt. Chris Smiley.
He says veterans had been on his mind and he’d seen how vets were being included in parades in other communities. His father and father-in-law are also RCMP veterans.
The role was created to help “bridge that gap” and let veterans in the community know, “Their service was appreciated and we’re still here for them,” said Smiley.
Retired RCMP members living withing the town or county of Ponoka can have their contact information added to the list by calling the detachment during regular business hours at 403-783-4471 and their information will be forwarded to Belich.