The sacrifice made by Hay River RCMP Const. Chris Worden three years ago was remembered by 30 people attending a candlelight vigil on Oct. 6.
Participants assembled in the lobby of the Don Stewart Recreation Centre near a bronze plaque bearing Worden’s likeness. After lighting candles the group proceeded north along Woodland Drive, east on Courtoreille Street and finally south on Capital Drive to the Hay River RCMP Detachment.
Hay River Town Councillor Kevin Wallington said Worden’s death in the line of duty on Oct. 6, 2007 was still a “vivid” memory for many in the community.
“Chris was a fantastic man – irreplaceable,” he said as participants gathered in front of the detachment. “We heard so many fantastic stories about Chris.”
Wallington then read an email from Worden’s parents, John and Mary Ann, thanking those who came out to the vigil.
“How touching to read the comments about our son and know that he is warmly remembered,” the email read in part. “We were at the cemetery today with our granddaughter Alexis, and left flowers for daddy. She is three and a half now and looks just like her dad. She is a constant joy to our family. As you can imagine we think of Christopher everyday and always wish we had him back. We will be at the vigil tonight with everyone else if only in spirit. Thank you for remembering.”
Those who met the officer couldn’t help but admire him, Wallington continued.
“I think that everybody who came in contact with Chris … got to see the enthusiasm he had for life, and just his desire to reach out to be an encouragement and strength to the people around him,” he said.
Worden, 30, was shot and killed when responding to an early morning call of a suicidal male. Emrah Bulatci was arrested in Edmonton six days after Worden’s murder. He was found guilty of first-degree murder in Worden’s death in November, following a month-long trial in Yellowknife. Bulatci has since appealed his conviction.
Wallington said he was happy to see people taking the initiative to turn Worden’s vision of the community into a reality. He thanked the Interagency group for launching the “Not Me” campaign, and the community for its fight against the drug trade.
“I have to believe his spirit continues to live through us in that,” Wallington explained.
After a moment of silence, Sister Maggie Beaudette led the group in a prayer.
“We ask your blessing on our RCMP force here, and everywhere,” she said. “Bless the Worden family on this day. Keep our town safe, help us to fight the fight against drugs.”