Beyond the call of duty

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Emma Graney
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Roddickton Constable spurs kids to excellence

Greg Charlton is known in Roddickton for being a good guy.               

He mows the grass at the softball field in summer, in the winter he drives the Zamboni at the arena — the same arena he and other volunteers campaigned to re-open after its two-year closure.

He gives kids skating lessons, coaches softball and ice hockey teams and volunteers his time at the arena where he does everything from serving at the canteen to collecting fees at the door for general skating.

“If the arena doors aren’t opened on time or the ice needs to be cleared, Greg is there to help out and he’ll come down with the keys and unlock it or come clear the ice — he’s always there,” Roddickton-Bide Arm recreation committee co-chair Sheila Fitzgerald explains.

“He’s done so much for the kids and youth here and he does it whether he is working or not.

“A lot of the time he gives on his own time. He has been so committed and dedicated to the children, youth and individuals of our town.”

On top of all that, Greg Charlton is one of Roddickton’s RCMP officers.

He has done such a great job in the community since arriving in February 2008 that the recreation committee has nominated him for the RCMP Foundation Golden Spur Award.

Presented annually to four RCMP officers across Canada, the award recognizes the outstanding work individual officers do by going above and beyond the call of duty in the communities they serve, specifically for at-risk youth.

“Without him, the kids wouldn’t have had the recreational opportunities they have had over the past two years playing organized hockey in the winter and softball in the summer,” Fitzgerald says.

“He applied to the RCMP Foundation and got $800 to buy softball gloves, bases, bats and balls so he could start a softball league for the kids this summer. These kids have never had a softball league before — they loved it.”

In its nomination letter to the RCMP, the committee noted Charlton’s interest in helping local youth.

“This is the first time ever in our community that there was a formal softball league for our youth, where there is practice, drills and instruction about how to play the game,” the letter reads.

“No one has ever taken the time or interest to encourage our youth to start a little softball league. There are currently 30 youth registered in the league. Without this opportunity there would be no other programs this summer as the local outdoor swimming pool did not open because the lifeguard position could not be filled.”

“I’m not really one that likes recognition — I just do it because of the enjoyment the kids get out of it, so when they told me … well, I was extremely honoured,” he says, sounding embarrassed about all the attention. Const. Greg Charlton

So what does Charlton have to say about being nominated?

“I’m not really one that likes recognition — I just do it because of the enjoyment the kids get out of it, so when they told me … well, I was extremely honoured,” he says, sounding embarrassed about all the attention.

“The most rewarding thing was seeing the skill level of the softball kids improve. Some of the four- and five-year-olds could hardly catch a ball and by the end they’d catch it and then they’d look around and call out to their parents ‘look, I caught it,’ and they were so proud. That was really special to see.”

When he started the softball league there were about 20 children keen to give it a go. By the end of the season word had got around and those numbers had practically doubled.

“I think in general it gave them something to do and they seemed to really appreciate it,” Charlton says.

“With the ice skating, when the arena was open again there were so many kids turn out to the general skate — all skating around, having a good time, getting exercise and it was great to see.

“If they weren’t there they’d probably have just been sitting at home or walking around with nothing to do.”

The Roddickton-Bide Arm Recreation Committee sums it up best in their nomination letter:

“Const. Charlton has demonstrated his dedication, passion and enthusiasm in the opportunities he has created to support our youth at risk. Without his outstanding leadership, energy and initiative these past two years our youth would not have the amazing recreational opportunities such as hockey, softball or have a place to skate.

“He brings out the best in everyone around him, especially our youth. He is approachable and compassionate yet, at the same time, he demands respect and encourages youth to reach for their greatest potential.”

 

The Northern Pen

Organizations: RCMP, Roddickton-Bide Arm recreation committee, RCMP Foundation

Geographic location: Roddickton, Canada

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  • Humbled
    September 14, 2010 - 09:09

    The world could use many more like you, Greg. God Bless You!