Hundreds of people came out to celebrate a poignant park opening at the newly-expanded Westhills Stadium.
“After the tragedy that happened here and the outpouring of grief and the support we have for the RCMP here, the community almost demanded that we do something,” says Langford Mayor Stew Young.
The community and Rotary of West Shore rallied to raise $250,000 for the Sarah Beckett Memorial Playground.
It’s in honour of the West Shore RCMP constable and mother of two tragically killed in the line of duty.
“If we’re looking for some comfort for Brad and the kids and the family it is that the community was there three years ago on that tragic evening, the horror and shock that we all felt was of course felt every day by Sarah’s family,” premier John Hogan says.
Beckett’s police cruiser was hit by a drunk driver in April 2016.
It’s a wound that’s still very fresh and for Beckett’s devastated family, the community support is overwhelming.
“It so hard to imagine everyone coming together like this and from the bottom of my heart and from the bottom of all of our family heart we thank you so much,” says Brad Aschenbrenner, Sarah Beckett’s husband.
Beckett’s two young sons — who have looked forward to playing here — cast their small hand prints on the plaque, dedicating the park to their mother.
“It’s kind of bittersweet,” Aschenbrenner says. “We shouldn’t be out here celebrating this park but we are and it’s such a fitting tribute to have those boys hands in the concrete forever.”
The park is a lasting legacy to Constable Sarah Beckett, meant to be a symbol of hope and joy, and a place where children can come to laugh and play.
“As a mother who’s happiest moments were with her children, I can’t think of a better tribute than that,” Horgan says.