By Jasmine Franklin
A Ponoka area RCMP volunteer is now one among only nine in Alberta’s history to receive a 25-year service recognition award.
Auxiliary Const. Dave Piel, 51, was presented with the award at last week’s town council meeting. He received a certificate from Alberta’s Lt.-Gov. Norman Kwong; Rod Knecht, deputy commissioner and northwest region and commanding officer “K” division; the Town of Ponoka and the Ponoka RCMP detachment all awarded Piel with certificates. In addition, Piel received a hoody and ball cap from the town and a Mountie and horse statue from the RCMP.
“(Dave) is an active volunteer and true gem,” said Sgt. Glenn DeMaere. “He has been assisting members in the detachment for 25 years now.”
“This is a tremendous accomplishment and milestone,” said Curtis Zablocki, inspector for the Battle River District. “He dedicated his own time to the betterment of the community.”
At age 25, Piel became a volunteer for the RCMP in 1984. He trained two days per week, three hours per session for three years.
Today, he has put in more than 10,000 hours — all of which are unpaid.
“It doesn’t seem like I put in that many year,” Piel said laughing. “I am hoping some day that I can make a difference.”
During the day, Piel has been a physciatric nurse at the Centennial Centre for 33 years. He patrols with RCMP members, under their supervision at all times, during his days off or evenings.
Though he is not permitted a firearm, he has the power to arrest and detain suspects and is armed with a baton and pepper spray.
“You learn a lot doing this job,” Piel said. “You learn the laws and how to deal with unruly people.”
Piel mentioned that RCMP works closely with the fire department and emergency services staff, all of whom he described as “a good bunch of guys and girls.”
“I have seen a lot of members come and go,” Piel said. “It’s an enjoyable job. There is good camaraderie and it’s a fun and exciting thing to do.”
Aside from his RCMP volunteer work, Piel was also awarded May 14 with a plaque for donating blood more than 100 times, most of which at the Ponoka clinic.