Fellow RCMP employees,
First responder colleagues,
Friends and fellow Canadians.
It's with a heavy heart, and profound sadness that I stand here today to offer my sincerest condolences to the family of Cst. Allan Poapst — especially his parents, Douglas and Pat, his brother Greg, and his girls Krystal, Chelsie and Caitlyn.
On behalf of the entire RCMP: we are so incredibly sorry for your loss.
The RCMP is a family, and losing one of our own hurts each and every one of us across the country. Our hearts are broken.
Thank you, to all of you, for sharing your memories and stories about Allan. You offer us a glimpse of the kind, intelligent, charismatic man he was.
Sadly, I never met Al, but I've learned a great deal about him this past week. So let this be a celebration of his life, which I am told is what he would have wanted.
He was a father, a son, a brother, a friend, and a police officer, who had so much more to do, and so many more things to accomplish in all of those roles.
To the people of Manitoba: this is a tragic loss. Al spent his entire RCMP career here. He served in Portage La Prairie, Powerview, and Headingley for nearly 13 years. Wherever he went, he touched the lives of those around him.
To his daughters, Krystal, Chelsie, and Caitlyn: you should be very proud of your Dad. He was an extraordinary person. We are honoured and proud that he chose the RCMP.
While he was going through training and starting a new career, Al balanced raising three little kids, maintaining a second career as a locksmith, and excelling in the cadet training program.
He always made time for everything, and everyone in his life.
He was phenomenal at bringing people together, and making everyone feel like they belonged and he was the type of person who always had your back.
While training at Depot, he took many of his troop mates under his wing. He was a trusted mentor, never hesitating to share tips and tricks — whether it was on the firing range or in the classroom.
Many people looked up to Al for guidance and advice, and he was always there to lend a helping hand, regardless of the task.
His charisma and larger-than-life personality could light up any room. Although he faced challenges like anyone else, he never complained, and never sweat the small stuff — a trait that was admired by those around him.
Outside of working hours, Al was an avid hockey player, and volunteered with the True North Foundation Jets Training Academy for youth. He was also a key organizer of countless hockey tournaments, many of which raised money for the Slain Peace Officer's Fund in Manitoba.
His love of life shone through everything he did — his job, his community work, and in his day-to-day interactions with those around him. He lived to help others. If there were more hours in the day, Al would have made good use of them. We can all live by the example he set, and carry his memory forward in our actions.
It's said that "at the end of the day, people won't remember what you said or did. They'll remember how you made them feel."
That's how we will all remember Al: how he treated everyone with respect, compassion and kindness. He was an exceptional RCMP member, a dedicated family man, and a remarkable human being.
So today, as we celebrate Al's life, let's look back on the good times, and challenge one another to keep making the world a better place in his honour.
To Al's family, I hope you can find comfort in knowing that he gave his life to something bigger than himself. That, I believe, is the definition of a true hero.
I want to thank the people of Winnipeg, and everyone across Canada, for pulling together on this difficult day to support the Poapst family. Looking at all of you here today, it's clear that he touched so many lives.
He will be deeply missed, and he will never be forgotten.
I'd like to end off with a poem by Helen Steiner Rice that reminds us of the importance of continuing to live our lives in the face of tragedy:
May tender memories soften your grief,
May fond recollection bring you relief,
And may you find comfort and peace in the thought
Of the joy that knowing your loved one brought
For time and space can never divide
Or keep your loved one from your side.
When memory paints in colors true,
The happy hours that belonged to you.
Take care of yourselves, and each other.