“Hey look, I caught one!”
The shouts of children wading at the edge of Lacombe Park Lake catching crayfish was a fitting backdrop for the announcement of a memorial to honour a man who loved to spend time fishing there with his own children.
Nearly 18 months after his tragic death in the line of duty, the committee tasked with creating the Constable David Wynn Memorial Tuesday unveiled its plans Tuesday morning.
“Fishing and being outdoors is something he grew up doing with his dad, and loved doing it with our children,” his widow Shelly Wynn said. “They still come here on a regular basis; they’ll just bike here and bring their fishing rods.”
There will be no giant statue to commemorate the man. Instead, there will be benches around a large rock adorned with plaques talking about not just the man known as “Const. David Wynn,” but also the man known as “Dave” and “Dad,” and the values he embodied.
Wynn explained her sons were consulted about where the memorial might be, and after hearing Lacombe Park was being considered as an option they didn’t need to hear anything else.
“As soon as they heard this location, this was the spot. There was no question,” she said. “And they knew what Dave was like, and didn’t want to see a big monument or statue of him – and he wouldn’t have wanted it.”
A memorial to honour the man is just one small part of the legacy he will leave behind. Much more significant for Wynn is an endowment fund to award scholarships in her husband’s name for youth looking to pursue careers in public service, including military, police and emergency services.
All who knew Wynn would agree his passion for reaching out to youth was paramount: teaching first aid and water safety with the Red Cross as a younger man, and more recently working in local schools teaching the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program or just hanging out.
“On a regular basis, Dave would sign in in the morning on his regular shift, and would go to one of the schools,” he said. “He’d walk the hallways, chat with the kids, or be on the playground.”
Mayor Nolan Crouse, who sits on the committee tasked with establishing the memorial, said the city itself had put forward $100,000 to support Wynn’s legacy, and said countless other donations have come in from the community. Further fundraisers are also planned to support the endowment fund, including an Oct. 20 hockey game at Servus Place. The St. Albert Community Foundation will manage that fund over the long term.
“Residents of this community will never forget the kind of man Dave Wynn was and what he stood for,” he said. “I’m confident these efforts will ensure his memory will live on and his story will continue to influence young and old to do what’s right for your community.”
Spruce Grove-St. Albert MLA Trevor Horne, on hand for the announcement, said Wynn’s story hits close to home. His godfather was an RCMP officer killed at work, and it makes an impact to see the support for Wynn’s family.
“It’s unfortunate that this is a necessary event, but it’s heartening to see the community come together,” he said.
The support for the family that came fast and furious from the community of St. Albert is something Wynn said helped buoy her spirits from the very start.
“We are so thankful for all the support they have given us over the last year and a half,” she said. “Coming home that morning from the hospital after Dave had passed, it was really amazing to see all the white ribbons on the streets.”