Toronto officers travelled to Orillia to support an OPP constable carrying the Pan Am Torch after having his leg amputated last year.
Hundreds of people, many associated with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), gathered to send off the torchbearers for Day 11 at OPP headquarters in Orillia, and honour one of their own, Const. Pete Tucker, who suffered serious injuries last year just south of Oro-Medonte Township.
Tucker was leading a training exercise with the OPP Golden Helmets on Highway 11 at the Highway 400 split when he was hit by a goose, causing catastrophic injuries, leading to the amputation of his left leg. Off work for months, Tucker has since returned as part of the OPP Crime Unit.
Carrying the torch was a thrill for Tucker, particularly after all he has been through in the past year.
“As bad as it's been to deal with, my family and the OPP have been fantastic to me,” he said. “If you told me 11 months ago that I would be standing here — literally — and carrying the Pan Am torch, I would have never believed you.”
OPP Commissioner Vince Hawkes, who got to hand Tucker his torch to start the relay, lauded the 20-year veteran of the Niagara Falls detachment.
“His strength and determination is an inspiration to us all,” Hawkes said. “Pete continues to be an excellent ambassador for the OPP.”
Hawkes said being a torchbearer a great honour for OPP to be part of, not only because of the police service's security responsibilities during the Games and escorting the torch, but also because so many of the communities the torch will travel through are served by OPP.
Toronto Motor Squad Officers and the O.P.P. Golden Helmets have had a long established friendship.
Toronto officers travelled to Orillia to support Pete in both his recovery and his participation in the Torch Relay.
To see the esprit de corps shared amongst the OPP and TPS riders lifted everyone’s spirits.