Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Fallen RCMP Officer the 'Consummate Mountie': Acting Commissioner

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Fallen RCMP Officer the 'Consummate Mountie': Acting Commissioner

Article excerpt

Funeral for fallen Mountie draws large crowd

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MONCTON, N.B. - Hundreds of RCMP officers in red serge filed sombrely into a New Brunswick church to pay tribute to a Mountie killed last week when he stopped to help stranded motorists change a flat tire.

The regimental funeral for Const. Frank Deschenes of the Nova Scotia RCMP filled St. Bernard's Catholic Church in Moncton, which seats 800, and a large crowd gathered along the tree-lined street outside to pay their respects to the young officer.

Savannah Bennett, Deschenes' wife, bowed her head as she placed a rose on the coffin, draped in a Canadian flag.

A heart-wrenching eulogy was delivered by Deschenes' friend, Dave Connors, who described the 35-year-old's excitement at getting married to the "woman of his dreams" this summer.

"You were his world, his rock. You made him the happiest man when he got to make you his wife," Connors said to Bennett. "You were the most important person in the world to him and he'd do absolutely anything for you."

"I remember the day he showed me your ring. His eyes lit up and the smile that came across his face was incredible."

Connors, who called Deschenes "Frankie" during the emotional eulogy, described his friend as a compassionate and thoughtful man who went above and beyond the call of duty for his fellow officers and the public.

Deschenes was assisting two occupants of an SUV last week when a cargo van plowed into his cruiser near Memramcook, N.B.

Father Allison Carroll, the parish priest, said one of the officer's final acts on earth was to reach out to "people who could use his help, in a simple task, changing a tire."

"As a police officer, Frank had multiple opportunities to meet and to serve the marginalized," Carroll said. "And he responded."

"We all know the story of bravery when he rescued a person from danger of immediate death back a few years ago, and he did so without any concern for himself, for his own safety."

In 2008, Deschenes was hailed as a hero when he used his cruiser to push a car off railroad tracks near Truro, N.S., out of the way of a speeding freight train, saving a young woman's life.

Acting RCMP Commissioner Daniel Dubeau called Deschenes the "consummate Mountie: Professional, modest and respectful. …

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