Setting youth on right path

To the Red Deer City RCMP detachment and its newest unit, Y-CRU, that’s making cops cool among the city’s younger citizens.

Bouquet…

To the Red Deer City RCMP detachment and its newest unit, Y-CRU, that’s making cops cool among the city’s younger citizens.

Five Mountie school resource officers are working together for the first time this summer as the Youth Crime Reduction Unit, patrolling and biking around the city “ticketing” kids for “good behaviour.”

That’s right. Be good and you are ticketed — but under unusual circumstances.

During the summer holiday program, youngsters spotted doing positive things during the patrols are issued a ticket by police that goes towards the purchase of bike helmets and other prizes.

This is a positive, constructive move on the part of the RCMP, aiming to curb crime where it can start: at the youth-level.

“It’s not that very often that kids are really hoping to run into the police,” said Cpl. Kathy DeHeer, commenting on the positive response the program has so far been greeted.

Far too often, youths view the police in a negative light. The Y-CRU crew wants to change that impression and ensure youngsters that they are there to help, not to “hassle them.”

During the school year, the Y-CRU unit will be investigating crimes at schools, attending school functions and educating the young citizens through presentations on drug awareness, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, bullying, Internet safety, gang prevention . . . and the list goes on.

Positive policing can go a long way among young people, helping to show them the right path in life.

Bouquet…

In memory of Bob McMurray who, with his family, for many Christmases brought Yuletide greetings to thousands of motorists travelling Hwy 2 by assembling Central Alberta’s tallest greeting tree — an oil rig brightly decorated for the occasion.

McMurray’s contribution to the festive season stood high and proud on his property in the Blindman River valley, skirting the west side of Hwy 2 just south of Blackfalds.

At night, the brightly-lit spectacle wished motorists the best of the season.

His tradition also became a tradition with the Advocate, which annually published a night-time photo of his warm contribution to a holiday that means so much to family and friends.

There’s no doubt the tall greeting card touched the hearts of many travelling that sometimes long, and lonely stretch who could not be home for the festive season.

Born in Stettler in 1929, McMurray passed away on Aug. 7 surrounded by family, including his wife of 57 years, Heddi, after a sharp encounter with thyroid cancer.

The family was actively involved in the oilpatch, eventually establishing Twin Rock Holdings.

McMurray’s passion to share joy was evident in his obituary published this week in the Advocate. In the summer, he attended to his “campsite” at the expense of the couple’s house and yard.

“Bob entertained, introduced, and intertwined a few generations of family, friends, neighbours and, on occasion, complete strangers, that happened along.

“Everyone will miss our weekly campsite meet-and-greet,” the obituary read in part.

A mass for the burial was held for McMurray on Friday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Red Deer.

The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations in the memory of this kind Yuletide greeter be made to the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton or to the Lacombe Hospital and Care Centre.

Rick Zemanek is an Advocate editor.

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