Article Source: CBC
‘The way she dressed, the way she behaved, it was all very majestic’
When Mara Wienke saw a photo of Const. Heidi Stevenson, she recognized her immediately despite living across the Atlantic.
A photo of the RCMP officer hung in the Dutch woman’s childhood bedroom, a source of inspiration and a reminder of their memorable meeting 20 years ago.
Wienke was six years old when the two met at an event in her hometown of Apeldoorn in 2000 to mark the community’s liberation by Canadian troops during the Second World War. She remembers being drawn to Stevenson, who looked like a superhero dressed in her bright red Mountie uniform.
“The way she looked, the way she dressed, the way she behaved, it was all very majestic to me and it just felt like talking to an actual hero,” Wienke, who is now 25, told CBC’s Information Morning.
Stevenson, a 23-year member of the force and a mother of two children, was killed Sunday during a gunman’s rampage through rural Nova Scotia that left 22 victims dead.
Stevenson, who met with Wienke several more times during her trip in 2000, gave her a card with a photo of herself that remained on Wienke’s wall well into her teenage years. She said she was in disbelief when it matched photos she began seeing in the news following the weekend’s shootings.
WATCH | Const. Stevenson ‘was a superhero’ to Dutch girl 20 years ago:
The two didn’t speak the same language, but Wienke said that didn’t stop Stevenson from taking time to kneel down so she could communicate with her at eye level.
A photo of the pair from that day shows the RCMP officer and little girl shoulder-to-shoulder.
“I was amazed by how she managed to make me feel seen despite the fact that we at that time didn’t speak the same language, but she truly saw me and she had so much time and attention for me,” Wienke said. “And I think that just speaks volumes of the person that she was.”
A letter to her family
Wienke penned a letter Monday to Stevenson’s family that was shared widely on Facebook. She wrote that there are no words in Dutch or English to do justice to the pain.
Stevenson is being remembered as a loving mother and kind colleague and friend. Wienke said it’s clear she had an impact on people wherever she went.
“I think the only thing I can do is talk about her memory and how wonderful she was to me, and I hope others will do the same so that way collectively we can keep her alive,” she said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during his daily media briefing Tuesday that he’s spoken with Stevenson’s family as well as with Const. Chad Morrison, who was injured over the weekend, and thanked them for their sacrifice.
Trudeau said when he offered his condolences to the RCMP officers he works with he was reminded of how tightly knit Canada is.
“I was amazed to see how many of them knew Heidi and had incredibly fond memories of her,” the prime minister said. “They’d worked with her on the musical ride. They remembered her as an extraordinary person.”
“Always Smiling, Always Happy, Always Positive”: RCMP Constable Heidi Stevenson Remembered (vocm.com)
Article Source: VOCM Local News Now
RCMP Constable Heidi Stevenson, who was killed in the line of duty during the tragic events in Nova Scotia over the weekend, is being remembered as someone who was full of life and happiness.
Constable Sarah Bass is originally from Deer Lake and works with the RCMP Detachment in Bay Roberts.
Bass says she knew the fallen officer well, and that it was Constable Stevenson who inspired her to pursue a career in law enforcement.
While she was going to University in Nova Scotia, she ended up renting an apartment that belonged to the officer. Bass fondly remembers first meeting her new landlord and the lasting impact it would have on her.
Stevenson came to the apartment in her uniform. Bass recalls that,
“The way she was talking about her career and the RCMP, she was so happy when she was doing it…it was captivating, the way she was doing it. It sucked me in.”
Bass remembers Stevenson as someone who was “always smiling, always happy, always positive.”
She reminisces about her police training. Stevenson would check in and send her messages of encouragement. Through the way she would write, Bass says, her joyful personality would really come through.
We are so moved by the messages and expressions of sympathy we’ve received, at Detachments and HQ and on social media, since the devastating loss of @RCMPNS Constable Heidi Stevenson. Your support means everything. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/QnqHPtA58r
— RCMP Newfoundland and Labrador (@RCMPNL) April 21, 2020
She shielded us at home for 23 years.
A mother of two. A dear friend.
Constable Heidi Stevenson
Please remember her.
Please say her name. pic.twitter.com/or0C98SLLK
— Canadian Forces in 🇺🇸 (@CAFinUS) April 19, 2020
Const. Heidi Stevenson remembered as loving mother, model Mountie, fun friend by Annapolis Valley colleague (The Chronicle Herald
Article Source: The Chronicle Herald
BRIDGETOWN, N.S. —
Const. Cheryl Ponee wants the world to know more about the RCMP officer killed in Canada’s deadliest mass shooting.
“She was the most outgoing, bubbly person that you’d ever meet. You see all the quotes about it, but it’s true when everybody says her smile was infectious,” said Ponee. “It’s 100 per cent true.”
Ponee knew Const. Heidi Stevenson as a coworker and friend. They met shortly after Ponee was stationed in Cole Harbour in January 1998.
The fresh-faced constables both started coaching high school sports within the community. Stevenson, a former rugby player for Acadia University in Wolfville, coached rugby. Ponee focused on soccer.
“We had a lot of the same kids that we coached together,” Ponee recalled.
Ponee was looking forward to spending some quality time with Stevenson during a group trip to Cuba that they had originally lined up for May, and planned to take when the travel restrictions relating to COVID-19 are lifted.
“She was taking her husband and her kids on her first trip to Cuba and couldn’t wait to go,” said Ponee. “It’s just so surreal that all of this is happening.”
Enfield and ‘what-ifs’
Ponee, now an Annapolis District RCMP member, worked with Stevenson in Enfield prior to her current posting. She still takes overtime shifts there.
Earlier in the week, Ponee expressed interest in working overtime in Enfield this past weekend. Const. Chad Morrison, however, was the first to claim it. Morrison, also a friend to Ponee, was injured while assisting with the weekend manhunt for an active shooter believed to be armed and dangerous. The 11-year member of the RCMP is now home recovering from gunshot wounds.
“Even as police officers, we cannot wrap our heads around that this can happen in Nova Scotia.”
The lone gunman’s 12-hour rampage started in Portapique, spanned several Nova Scotian communities, and ended with the suspected shooter being killed during a confrontation with police at the Enfield Big Stop.
“The ‘what-ifs’ go through your head,” said Ponee.
As of Monday afternoon, RCMP confirmed that at least 19 victims were killed. A friend called to tell Ponee that Stevenson had died in the line of duty before the RCMP publicly identified the fallen officer.
“I dropped to the floor,” she said. “I was freaking out and crying.”
Ponee won’t say the name of the gunman. He doesn’t deserve it.
She believes it’s time to focus on telling the stories of the innocent people who lost their lives, including the police officer who put hers on the line to protect others.
“Keep her memory alive,” she said.
Stevenson fit the definition of a model Mountie in Ponee’s mind. She served and protected for 23 years. She participated in the popular RCMP Musical Ride. She worked in local schools. She spoke of her family often.
“She adored her husband and her kids. They were her life – her life,” said Ponee.
“She’s not only a police officer, but a mother and a daughter and a wife, and things will never be the same for her family.”
Hard return to work
Ponee considered staying home from work Monday, but she felt it was best to be in the company of fellow police officers following the loss of one of their own.
“Even as police officers, we cannot wrap our heads around that this can happen in Nova Scotia … you don’t think you’re going to be involved in a mass shooting and you don’t think you’re not going to come home to see your family,” she said.
A note thanking officers for all they do for the community was waiting for Annapolis District RCMP members Monday morning. It was taped to the door of the Bridgetown detachment.
“My sincerest sympathies go out to you all and your families. Const. Heidi Stevenson paid the ultimate price to ensure our safety and freedom,” the letter said.
“I realize you have incredibly demanding jobs every day. You see people at the lowest, hardest times in their lives and try to help them and keep all of us safe at the same time.”
Passersby honked and waved at Ponee as she made her rounds in a cruiser. Some people dropped flowers off outside of the detachments, and others offered condolences or expressed sincere gratitude.
It all helped.
“The community has been amazing,” Ponee said.
Did you know?
A GoFundMe account was launched in support of Const. Heidi Stevenson’s husband, and their two adolescent children. The online fundraiser set out to raise $10,000. Within a day, more than $58,000 in donations poured in.
Messages of condolence for the family can be sent to RCMP.Condolences-Condoleances.GRC@rcmp-grc.gc.ca