SAINT-JEAN-SUR-RICHELIEU, Que. â€” Dozens of Mounties dressed in red tunics and Stetsons marched under blue skies on Saturday to honour an RCMP officer they remembered as a “gentle giant” and dedicated family man.
Officers from other police forces and first responders also joined the procession, which wound its way to a hangar on a military base southeast of Montreal where a funeral was held for Richer Dubuc, who died March 6 in Lacolle, near the U.S.-Canada border.
The married father of four died from injuries after a crash between his RCMP vehicle and a farm tractor.
The 90 minute service, which was closed to media, was held on a military base in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, about 45 minutes from Montreal.
As it ended, eight RCMP officers carried Dubuc’s wooden coffin to a hearse, which drove slowly between two lines of saluting Mounties who had emerged to pay their final respects to their colleague.
RCMP Const. Erique Gasse said the 6-foot-5 Dubuc was known for his kindness and dedication.
“He was an ex-fireman, ex-paramedic who was always first on the line to help people, and he was a very kind guy, a family oriented guy,” Gasse said.
An online condolence book posted on the RCMP’s website was filled with messages from people describing Dubuc as someone with an easy smile who was always eager to tell stories about his children.
“I will always remember his huge smile, his joy in life that was as large as his presence, and his compassion and love for his family,” wrote a former colleague from New Brunswick.
Many thanked him for his contribution to communities in both Quebec and New Brunswick.
Gasse said the RCMP was grateful for the presence of hundreds of uniformed police officers and emergency first responders from across Canada.
“The RCMP, we have a very big ‘esprit de corps,’ and its very important for us to see other police forces coming shoulder to shoulder with us,” Gasse said.
A native of Joliette, Que., Dubuc began his career with the Codiac Detachment in New Brunswick in November 2009.
He joined the Integrated Border Enforcement Team based in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., in January.
The collision occurred on Highway 202 near Roxham Road, an area frequently used by migrants crossing into Canada on foot from the United States.
Prior to becoming a member of the RCMP, Dubuc was a paramedic and served as an emergency medical technician with the tactical and emergency response units in the province.
Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press