Retired Toronto Police Supt. Heinz Kuck is a recipient the prestigious Meritorious Service Medal for his work for charity as a police officer.
Created by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Meritorious Service Decorations recognize Canadians for exceptional deeds that bring honour to our country. The cross was originally created in 1984 for members of the military. In 1991, a medal was added to the military division, and both the cross and medal were introduced for civilians.
Kuck is recognized for performing arduous physical challenges in support of people facing poverty, crime or illness.
“I am very pleased and this honour comes as a bit of surprise,” he said. “It has been a year since I retired after 40 years on the job. I am very humbled by the gesture. I really had a good run with the Service and dedicated the last 10 years to raising funds for charity.”
In a seven-year span until the end of 2018, he raised nearly $75,000 for Victim Services Toronto that provides crisis response, trauma and support services to victims of crime and sudden tragic circumstances 24 hours daily.
He paddled across Lake Ontario twice with a crew, mush dog sleds 420 kilometres through Algonquin Park, rode an elliptical bike from Toronto to the Quebec border in three days and climbed three of the highest peaks in the Adirondack Mountains – a total of 15,325 feet above sea level – in three days.
He also did a winter trek consisting of a criterium bike ride, Nordic cross-country skiing and hiking on snowshoes.
In 2016 and 2018, Kuck pushed and pulled a steel sled over three kilometres from 11 Division, where he was the Unit Commander, to the Dovercourt Boys & Girls Club to raise funds for the agency.
“Those two sled pushes are part of the highlight of all of the things I did for different charities,” he added. “We were able to raise funds to buy books, computers and music equipment for the young people.”
Luisa Brown, the Administrative Coordinator at 11 Division, said Kuck is a true leader who inspired Service members.
“Aside from these fitness challenges, every year he also developed new initiatives and strategies that brought attention and awareness to fundraising campaigns that were impactful to the community he represented,” she said. “He has demonstrated ongoing leadership and volunteerism over the years. He touched the lives of the community he represented and sought to achieve an improved life for the homeless, victims of crimes and members of service as a mentor and leader.
“He earned the deep respect of the Toronto Police Service members and the community for being innovative and an inspiration. Countless people have benefitted from his benevolence through his many fundraising initiatives. Through his actions, Supt. Kuck epitomizes the very essence of what defines a real-life super hero.”
Kuck, who was instrumental in launching the Victim Services trauma dog program, was recognized for his enormous contributions to VST with the organization’s 2018 Leadership Excellence Award.