Thursday night marked Langley’s 27th annual RCMP volunteer appreciation dinner at the Langley Golf and Banquet Centre.
Volunteers of all ages, who perform various services in Langley were honoured at tables alongside their community police liaisons. That included those of auxiliary policing, victim services, Block Watch, Speed Watch and Citizens’ Patrol volunteers.
Dozens of longtime volunteers were in attendace, lauded during speeches from City Councillor Rudy Storteboom and Township Councillor Blair Whitmarsh.
“Our Langley volunteers represent the best of our community,” Storteboom said during an after-dinner speech.
Volunteer Velma Sandyck, a retiree who now works two days a week in the Aldergrove community police office, was among those recognized for her contributions.
“I prefer to work out of Aldergrove because of the type of clients and the community feel,” Sandyck said.
Auxiliary officer Terry McNeil was decked out head to toe in uniform.
McNeil has been recognized with five different awards for serving more than 500 hours as a trained volunteer RCMP officer – with 937 hours clocked in just one year while working a full-time job.
Most recently, McNeil has been on the footbeat with Aldergrove community police liaison Cpl. Kurt Neuman, helping ward off preventable crimes from up-and-coming businesses in Aldergrove’s downtown core.
“We get just as much out of the community as we give to it,” McNeil said, “I can tell the people who see us walking out on the street patrolling there love it.”
Jean Galvin, who now manages the RCMP’s auxiliary police program in Langley, was one of the earliest women RCMP officer to ever serve in Canada.
“Girls first came out in 1974,” Galvin recounted, “I came on in 1979.”
At the time, a bright-eyed 20-something-year-old Galvin, was stationed in Surrey and served 20 years on the police force there.
Neuman credited Galvin with contributing to a legacy that continues to benefit communities all over the Lower Mainland, and throughout Canada.
“It’s amazing to see such a legacy carried on nowadays,” Neuman said, also acknowledging other women community liaisons in the room, including Cpl. Julie Bion – who now serves in neighbourhoods including Willoughby and Brookswood.
Another longtime Langley volunteer, Sheila Holmes, has worked for Langley’s RCMP for more than 17 years.
“There’s many others in the room who have been volunteering longer than me,” Holmes said, naming off a few.
Emcee of the night, Langley RCMP Cpl. Craig Van Herk, led the group’s community police liaisons and RCMP officers in a moment of applause for the volunteers during the latter part of the night.
“Words truly aren’t adequate to describe what you mean to us,” Van Herk finished.