Members of the local Community Policing volunteers, along with regular members of the RCMP detachment took a break from their crime busting duties last week to honour one of their own.
Betty Fraser, who was the driving force behind the formation of both the Parksville and Qualicum Beach community policing offices, had a tree plaque dedicated in her honour in a brief ceremony Friday. Fraser died in October, 2010.
Master of ceremonies Cpl. Jesse Foreman said while he never had the chance to meet Fraser personally, he heard all about her when he began his work in community policing.
“In one week there were three different events she was spearheading,” he said. “I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to that point where it was three nights a week, but we’re going to try.”
The feature speaker of the event was former community policing officer Gary Cox.
“Betty was a very private person,” Cox said.”It was very difficult to get information out of her because she didn’t want any recognition and she shied away from it. She didn’t want anyone to know all the things she had done.”
Cox said this reluctance to blow her own horn led to problems— and a two-year delay — when Cox and a colleague tried to nominate Fraser for the prestigious B.C. Volunteer of the Year award.
“In 2003 my co-worker Sheila Roy and I decided to nominate Betty for this award and we couldn’t get any information out of her,” Cox said. “We weren’t able to nominate her.”
The following year Cox and his partner decided to try again, but with a more subtle approach.
“We hired a university student to go interview her on the premise that she was doing her thesis on volunteer work,” Cox said. “Betty saw through that in no time and we weren’t able to nominate her that year, either.”
Finally, in 2005 they decided to circumvent Fraser entirely, and this time they met with success.
“We decided to go back to the detachment commander who was in charge at the time she started,” Cox said. “He wrote up a great recommendation and that was the kicker.”
That year, Fraser found herself bound for the Lower Mainland to receive her award from the province.
“Betty sure didn’t want the recognition, but they convinced her to go because all of B.C. was going to know anyway and she was going to get the award whether she went or not,” Cox said, to laughter.
An avid Coronation Street fan, Fraser was also active with the Red Hat Ladies, Speed Watch and Citizens on Patrol.
Betty moved to Qualicum Beach in 1994, and volunteered with the Emergency Preparedness Program, the Tour de Rock Cops for Cancer fund raising and served on boards for Mid Island Aids Society, Gatekeepers Program, and Victims Services.