When Kevin first arrived at La Ronge Detachment it was impossible to get information at a call. One of those people who was larger than life, he was also larger than the rest of us. Kevin stood 6 foot 7, and just after graduation at Depot, weighed 285 lbs. Walking into a call would go something like this...
Okay, what happened here?
"Boy are you tall."
No, I'm pretty much average. What happened?
"Not you, him! How tall are you?"
5'11. What happened here?
"Not you, him!!"
Oh, he's 6'7". Do you need the police? What happened here???
"How much do you weigh?
Oh I don't know, 195. Please tell me what happened.
"Him, not you HIM!"
285. Does the guy on the floor need an ambulance?
Eventually I started walking into calls by saying "This is Kevin and boy is he big. He's 6 foot 7 285 lbs, and by the way, do you mind telling me what happened here".
Extremely easy going, he was also smart and eager. He fit in well with our small watch, and quickly became a good cop. He was also extremely easy to tease. One of our vehicles was a Chev Blazer, and by the time you put in a silent patrolman, shotgun and radio, there wasn't much room for me. I used to delight in taking it out, forcing Kevin to fold himself into the passenger seat.
Policing in a small community, at a busy detachment you quickly become very close to your co-workers. Policing is kind of insular at the best of times, you tend to get closest to the people you work with. When they are really good people you end up the best of friends. You work together, work out together, and hang out together. Our watch probably spent 60 hours a week at work. It was busy and we were keen. Kevin made those hours pass quickly.
He used to love to bug me about commendations. He knew that deep down, I wanted one, and felt I was deserving of them. But he had them. Kevin was actually a hero. He rescued a kid from a house fire in Stanley Mission, cutting himself on a window and ending up in the hospital with a massive infection. He and Mark also got a commendation for physically disarming a man who had set them up with a fake call, intending on killing a member. We had had a murder earlier that morning, and I have never felt more helpless than when Mark's call for help came over the radio, and I was unable to leave the office, tied up with our murder suspect. As much as he deserved that recognition, it really meant nothing to him. He was just doing what he loved.
What really mattered to him? His love for Christine, his sweetheart from University. He couldn't wait until they got married and would finally be together. It was a sweet sweet wedding. One I was happy to be at, despite it coming on the heals of Janice's death. It was easy to be happy for the two of them, and easy to forget troubles hanging out with Kevin.
Late last week Mark, the other member of the A team, called me with the devastating news that Kevin was in Intensive Care, unconscious with a failing liver. Healthy one day some mysterious malady had knocked him flat the next. There was little information other than that he had improved somewhat, but that they did not know what it was and that he was on dialysis as his kidneys had also shut down.
If life were fair, Kevin would be mending. Fighting back with that great spirit of his, once again quietly doing the hero thing. But life isn't fair, and sometimes it just plain sucks. Another colleague called this afternoon... Kevin passed away last night, in his thirties, leaving his love, Christine a young widow. It shouldn't be that way, not to people larger than life.
Take care my friend. I miss you already.