Assistant Commissioner Brian Brennan, Commanding Officer of the Nova Scotia RCMP, Remarks, funeral service for Constable Francis Deschênes

September 20, 2017
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Speech

Check against delivery.

I stand before you today as Frank's fellow officer and as Commanding Officer of the Nova Scotia RCMP.

Last week when I received the call that Frank lost his life, I hung up the phone and sat in silence.

I took a moment of pause to honour Frank's life and to think of his family, friends and colleagues whose lives were going to be forever changed.

Frank's wife Savannah lost her husband, Bertrand and Marie-Paule lost their son, Patrick lost his brother, Susan and Vernon lost their son-in-law, and thousands of RCMP employees and police officers across the country lost one of our own.

Although I did not know Frank personally, I feel I know him through his actions and how Frank lived his life.

He served his country and was committed to something much larger than himself of which there is nothing more honourable. He was the guy who did the right thing when no one was watching and that is exactly what Frank was doing when he lost his life.

After meeting with Savannah and Frank's family and when reading some of the notes we have received it is evident that Frank's actions speak for themselves. He touched many people's lives in ways that most of us will never know.

Thousands of people have shared their condolences and many have sent along stories about Frank, one lady wrote, "I will never forget you Cst. Deschênes, it was a brief exchange but what you did for me that day changed my life forever."

On the drive home from Frank's house last week I was thinking about him and something I once read, seems as if it were written with Frank in mind.

"His career is symbolic of the unswerving devotion and pride with which men of character, ability and integrity have given themselves to building the reputation of the Force."

When you think of a Mountie, Frank epitomizes that image. He put on his uniform with pride, lived our core values through his actions and served others unselfishly with integrity and respect.

Those who worked closely with Frank describe him as the guy you could always count on and who was always there to back them up.

When they describe what they will miss about Frank, it's him showing up to work with his enormous and very gentle, 140 lb Newfoundland dog and sidekick Kito. The stories of expeditions in his jeep or cross-country rides on his BMW motorcycle.

One of his colleagues shared that Frank had a dry sense of humour that would surface in very subtle and funny ways. He explained that Frank was a fan of the comedian Bill Murray and he adorned a sticker of Bill Murray's face on his jeep wrangler. His admiration of Bill Murray extended to his wedding day where Frank wore his Red Serge and underneath sported a Bill Murray t-shirt that he proudly displayed in his wedding photos alongside Savannah.

Above all else though, Frank was a family man whose commitment and devotion to his wife Savannah, their entire family and dog Kito was apparent in everything Frank did.

As Frank's family you have been called upon to bear an unimaginable burden and standing before you I know there is nothing I can say to ease your pain.

My hope for you today and in the weeks and months ahead, is that you can fill your hearts with the energy and prayers of the thousands who are alongside you.

The RCMP is your family and that will never change. Frank will remain our fellow officer and brother and his legacy will continue to serve as a reminder of how we should live our lives.

Cst. Francis Deschênes, I thank you for your dedicated service to the Force and for living your life with courage, conviction and integrity.

Regimental #5-1-6-5-4 rest peacefully in your final place of honour.

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