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RCMP spouses honored for voluntary duties performed at isolated posts

101 yr old Margaret (Madge) Jane Callens, widow of retired Cpl Jules Callens and her great granddaughter Cst Courtney Callens. Rear left to right: her grandson D/Comms Craig Callens and sons C/Supt Larry Callens rtd and S/Sgt Ian Callens rtd.
Image Credit: Handout/RCMP
November 09, 2013 - 11:09 AM

KELOWNA - A very special RCMP awards presentation was held this past Thursday in Kelowna, honoring a specific group of spouses of RCMP police officers. The Unpaid Second Man award was created in 2010, with over 450 RCMP wives from across Canada having received the award to date with 168 of those in BC.

On Thursday November 7, 2013, the Southeast District RCMP along with the RCMP Veterans Association held an awards presentation, formally recognizing the role played by the spouses of RCMP police officers, those who with their husband were posted to one or two man RCMP detachments in small isolated communities across Canada.

The Unpaid Second Man award acknowledges the support and voluntary duties that they provided to the RCMP and the communities in which they and their families were posted to. Throughout the 50’s and up into the 80’s, many of these isolated posts had members living quarters attached to the detachment and as a result many duties fell to the wife while their spouses attended to calls or were absent from the office while out on regular patrols.

Retired Sgt. A. Harold Clark and Mrs. Ruth Lee Knight authored books that described the dedicated efforts of some of these women. The books titled, The Unpaid Second Man and When the Second Man was a Woman chronicled the hardships, dedication and sacrifices that these women made to support the RCMP and served as the catalyst to these awards.

The duty list, was long, from clerical duties including complaint taking, guarding prisoners, cleaning common areas, cooking meals for prisoners to being the first contact with victims and suspects who may have showed up at the detachment’s doorstep during their husbands absence. The above accomplished, all the while raising their families.

Spouses awarded receiving standing ovation
Spouses awarded receiving standing ovation
Image Credit: Handout/RCMP

BC RCMP Commanding Officer Deputy Commissioner Craig Callens presented a certificate and broach to 46 deserving women who now live in the Southeast District area.

One example cited on Thursday, was of Gertrude Lindstrom now of Kaslo, BC who was posted to Mayo Yukon from 1973 to 1976 with her husband. She responded to a complaint at the door of during one of his absences. Upon opening the door, still cradling her 11 month old child, she found a woman bleeding severely from several stab wounds. Without hesitation she quickly placed her child on the living room floor, pulled the stabbing victim into the house while observing the perpetrator coming down the road towards the detachment. She then returned to the door and calmly obtained the personal information of both parties from the perpetrator and then in an assertive manner sent the man home instructing him to await the arrival of the members while she took the victim to the nursing station.

Deputy Commissioner Callens had the special privilege to honor his own grandmother on Thursday.

Madge Callens now of Mara BC, was posted to Clinton BC,with her husband Jules Callens from 1950 to 1953. Mrs Callens is the proud Matriarch of four generations of RCMP/police officers.

Mid-century BC RCMP Detachment with attached living quarters.
Mid-century BC RCMP Detachment with attached living quarters.
Image Credit: Handout/RCMP

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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