Mounted Unit officers know their horses are in good hands when they’re away from the stables.
For the past 15 years, volunteer Sarah Cutts-Rosen has been in the saddle exercising horses at The Horse Palace, home of the Mounted, about three times a week before heading to her full-time job as a production manager in the television industry.
She was among 50 Service volunteers honoured at the Toronto Police Service Divisional Policing Support Unit Volunteer Appreciation Night on April 14 at the police college.
“The work that Sarah does is simply amazing,” said Superintendent Bill Wardle, who was in charge of the Mounted Unit, prior to heading to 54 Divisionearlier this year. “When our officers are away for various reasons, they can rest assured that Sarah is taking their horses out of the stable and exercising them. She is an asset to the unit and she has grown close to my family over the years.”
Cutts-Rosen said her love of horses and her father’s military background were the impetus to volunteer with the police horses.
“It’s just a privilege to work with them,” she said. “What better way to start the day than ride and groom horses early in the morning before going to work.”
Cutts-Rosen, who also assists the unit with special events and tours, singled out Blue Moon – a Perchon thoroughbred and one of the unit’s two grey horses – as her favourite.
“He’s such a wonderful horse to ride and he has a great attitude,” she said.
Each year, the John Herra Memorial Award and the Victim Services Toronto (VST) Award are presented to volunteers who demonstrate outstanding leadership skills and proven commitment to their community.
Herra was an auxiliary officer who retired as an Inspector in 1996 after 14 years of community service.
This year’s recipient was Bob Kemp, a member of the 51 Division Community Police Liaison Committee for the last 12 years.
“This award means a lot because I really enjoy working with the police,” said Kemp, raised in Windsor before moving to Toronto at age 18. “We need the police on our side and I will do anything to assist them with their job in the community.”
Superintendent Elizabeth Byrnes, the 51 Division unit commander, made the presentation to Kemp.
“One of the things that Bob does that really impresses me is his work with the Salvation Army board,” she said. “In that capacity, he works closely with shelters and systems in our Division, and he has taken under his wing over 100 men who have criminal records or have been substance abusers or both. He provides them with work to help beautify the St. Lawrence Market Area and about 70 of them have gone on to gain employment with the city because of their work with Bob.
“Every week, he’s in my office asking what he can do. He just relishes giving back to the community and to the people at our station.”
Bev Craddock, who has chalked up nearly 500 volunteer hours since 2009, was presented with the VST Award.
“One of the best parts of my job is having the pleasure of working with so many wonderful volunteers who so generously dedicate their time, professional skills, knowledge and compassion to the community and victims of crime and sudden tragedy,” said VST program manager Sarah Rogers. “Bev is one of these incredible volunteers who has demonstrated all those skills and qualities and much more.”
A year after joining VST, Craddock became one of the first volunteer mentors pairing with a new recruit to assist in their training and transition to the crisis team.
“Bev is patient, knowledgeable and a well-respected leader,” Rogers said. “As with any new program, there are some flaws but Bev helped us iron out some of the kinks. She’s just an incredible individual and we are all better people for knowing her and working alongside her.”
A government agency employee and fiction writer, Craddock relishes her time with VST, which provides 24/7 crisis, response, trauma and support services to victims of crime and sudden tragic circumstances.
“For me, it’s all about giving back to your community without expecting anything in return,” she pointed out. “Having said that, I am just happy to be recognized.”
Five-, ten- and 15-year pins were presented to CPLC volunteers at the event that coincided with National Volunteer Week celebrations observed from April 6-12.
“I want to make sure that my community is safe and ensure I gave back to the community,” said lawyer Mary Reilly, the recipient of a 15-year pin.
Justin Van Dette’s reasons for volunteering are similar.
“I like making a difference and doing whatever I can to support the community and make it safe,” he said.
Chief Bill Blair thanked the volunteers for their service and reminded them they are an integral part of Canada’s largest municipal police service.
“You have made us a more competent police service and you have helped us understand your communities,” he noted. “You have brought to us your knowledge of your communities and you make the work of my officers so much more effective because of the service you provide.”
Toronto Police Services Board Chair Alok Mukherjee also paid tribute to the volunteers in the police family.
“You are a very important and exceptional group of people who are critical to the work of our organization and this city,” he said. “We owe you a great debt because your dedication and generosity enrich our society in many different and unexpected ways. You integrate our communities and infuse them with compassion and you demonstrate your caring, compassion and commitment daily through your actions, giving selflessly in so many valued and constructive ways across the city. You truly represent community spirit in its greatest form and for this you have our deepest gratitude.”
Five-year pins were awarded to: Roman Dabrowski, Sandy Trpcic, Debbie Jones, Tania Fernandes, Lisa Kostakis, Deb Devgan, Gene Lincoln, Roger Williams, Holly Qaunce, Cyndy De Los Santos, Randy Sidhu, Pamela Tahir, Al Stuart, Lucy Deluca, Young Lee Ha, Jason Ying, Kristin Kobayashi, Janet Marshall, Sam Monogram, Karen Austerberry, Patricia Hough, Patricia Stamp, Paulina Jules-Soungie, Larry Colle, Ronald Miller, Susan Gapka, John Dixon, Justin Van Dette, Georgina Bencsik, Vivian Broersma, Ricardo Harvey, Bok Sil Shin, Jaeyell Kim, Rey Tolentino, Khang Nguyen, Sambath Chhom, Tom Zaw, Tom Vongphakdy, Mali Phiphat, Henry Lee Ha, Barry Yau, Holly de jong, Bev Craddock, Diana Helmy, Carlos Iglesias, Aaron McAllister, Ibrahim Meru, Simone Samuel, Jean Marie Boutot, Colleen Clarke, Howard Bortenstein, Eddie Cruz, Brian Kwan, Leonard Leo, Sachil Patel, Simone Ip, Christine Thai, Mary Caporusso and Sukmar Balasubramaniam.
Ten-year pins were awarded to: Francisco Juarez, John Broley, Steve Monardo, Bihi Sharmaarke, Sofia Abukbeker, Shukriya Librahim, Cindy O’Brien, Rosaline Sonshine, Melanie Dickson-Smith, Winnie McMillen, Marilyn Hodge, Hamid Hashmi, Bob Kemp, Adnan Noureddine, Osman Khan, Adbui Hai Patel, Parveen Inam and Viresh Mathur.
Fifteen-year pins were awarded to: Margaret Traccitto, Keith LeClair, Cynthia Persaud, Heather Kilgour, Margarite Stevens, Mary Reilly, Don Routley, Sarah Cutts-Rosen, Sid Ikeda and Ina Hechavarria.
Twenty-year pins were awarded to Frances Sanderson, of the Aboriginal Consultative Committee and Alex Ling, who is assigned to 11 Division.