For hundreds of sportsmen and women in North & South America and the Caribbean, the recently concluded Pan Am/Parapan Games in Toronto and the Golden Horseshoe will be the highlight of their athletic careers.
It will also be a highpoint for the 234 Toronto Police Auxiliary officers assigned to the Games. Of the nearly 120 volunteer hours that Auxiliary Sergeant Brad Berezowski put in, the eight he did with his father – Detective Darren Berezowski of 33 Division – will always stand out.
They patrolled the Games Route Network Route (GRN) on the Gardiner Expressway and Lake Shore Blvd.
“We kept the traffic moving and investigated a collision,” said the two-year Auxiliary officer. “Working side by side with my dad was the most satisfying Games experience for me.”
Berezowski, who has a full-time job in addition to his volunteerism as an Auxiliary, worked multiple shifts during the Pan Am Games at the Athletes Village, Pan Am Park and the opening and closing ceremonies.
“This was just a phenomenal opportunity to engage with the community,” he said. “It was a great chance to bridge the gap between the community and the police.”
A registered nurse, Auxiliary Staff Sergeant Eselyn Ince still found the time to donate 75 volunteer hours during the Games. She was assigned to the Athletes Village prior to the arrival of the competitors and the venues for the practice runs for both the Pan Am and Parapan opening ceremonies.
“My lasting memory of the Games is the organizing and how well that went,” she said. “Everything ran smoothly and like clockwork. I also enjoyed interacting with other volunteers.”
An Auxiliary officer since 1991, Ince is assigned to 13 Division. Working 24-hour shifts, the Auxiliary officers conducted 836 assignments, including the opening and closing ceremonies, Panamania at Nathan Phillips Square, the Athletes Villages and Pan Am Park. They also assisted with road closures. A total of 65 Auxiliary officers were also trained for bike patrols during the Games.
“They just loved their assignments using the bikes,” said Pan/Parapan Am Games Auxiliary and Youth in Policing Coordinator Mary Sist, who was in charge of the Auxiliaries during the Games. “I am so proud of all of the officers who donated their time. All of them have full-time jobs or are full-time students.”
The Auxiliaries combined to volunteer for approximately 8,370 hours during the Games.