There have been tears and transient bits of laughter as tons of of law enforcement officials from throughout Ontario gathered in Markham Sept. 22 to recollect the lifetime of York Regional Police Const.Travis Gillespie.
Gillespie, 38, who was killed Sept. 14 in a head-on collision in Markham, was remembered for his “warrior ethos”, humour, positivity and love for all times.
This was the second funeral for a GTA officer in as many days in a difficult week for first responders, who lined up for hours alongside Woodbine Highway outdoors Chapel Ridge Funeral Dwelling to pay their respects.
Simply someday prior, on Sept. 21, Toronto Police Service Const. Andrew Hong was laid to relaxation after being shot to demise whereas on responsibility in Mississauga.
Gillespie didn’t die within the line of responsibility — he was on his approach to work and the motive force of the Porsche that collided along with his automobile was charged with impaired driving inflicting demise — however the grief and loss had been each bit as actual for mates, household and colleagues mourning the lack of an exemplary officer and a life reduce senselessly brief.
The 90-minute service was held privately for mates, household and colleagues he served with, however tons of of officers in full formal gown listened to proceedings on audio system arrange within the car parking zone and the service was additionally livestreamed for individuals who couldn’t attend.
A helicopter handed overhead as a present of respect. Two of YRP’s peer help canine — educated to reply to anxiousness, despair and indicators of PTSD, had been additionally accessible.
It was a sombre service, nevertheless it additionally had notes of levity, in line with a man who was, by all accounts, a supply of sunshine, management and laughter.
As mourners and officers arrived and assembled underneath the spruce bushes, Gillespie’s music playlist blasted from the audio system — an eclectic, energetic mixture of nation, rockabilly and ska-punk loud sufficient to drown out a chilly early-autumn wind.
That very same vitality and pleasure that Gillespie dropped at life got here by way of in eulogies delivered by his mates, spouse Katrina and two brothers, Daniel and Scott.
The service heard that Gillespie grew up in Shiloh, jap Ontario, and served for 11 years as a particular constable, then sergeant, for Metrolinx. He joined YRP in December 2019, was assigned to No. 2 District C Platoon within the Metropolis of Richmond Hill and was on the cusp of taking a spot on the York Area Emergency Response Unit.
The gang additionally heard that he lit up the room along with his smile, was a person of character — and of many off-duty shenanigans, tales of which introduced laughter by way of the tears of mourners.
“Ferociously humble,” with a coronary heart of gold, Gillespie completely balanced recklessness and self-discipline, finest pal and longtime colleague Taylor Gibb mentioned.
“He would put something in his mouth and eat it, leap from the very best factor he may, discover the very best level to climb, embrace a stranger as in the event that they had been his personal,” Gibb, a YRP officer, mentioned. “He was a weapon of invincibility with a mighty soul.”
A supervisor as soon as described Gillespie as having a “warrior’s coronary heart”, YRP Chief Jim MacSween mentioned. “He was hardworking, devoted, competent and compassionate.”
Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Solicitor Basic Michael Kerzner each attended the service and spoke, too, with Ford calling it a “horrible” week for first responders.
Kerzner famous life will be “upended immediately”, however bonds, resembling that Gillespie cast along with his brothers and sisters within the police power, can convey gentle to navigate the chaos.
“Life is treasured and collectively we’re every part,” Kerzner mentioned. “Collectively, we will be empowered and infuse our lives with that means and goal, with an urgency, depth and pleasure, like Travis did.”