RCMP Cpl. Grant McDonald got into policing to help the community.
The community hasn’t been the same since.
Now, as McDonald, 45, is leaving the territory to a new policing position in Masset, BC, community members are expressing appreciation for McDonald’s profound contributions.
Volunteer service a mile long, an impeccable policing record and a kind, humble demeanour — praise for McDonald is unanimous.
“He’s a very genuine, caring, concerned individual … a very, very big heart,” said RCMP Sgt. Roger Lockwood.
“Our loss will be Masset’s gain.”
“When we needed him, he was always there,” said Richard Johnson, vice-president of the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Society of Yukon.
“He’s always been very easy to deal with, very appropriate, very thorough,” said Jan Trim, president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
McDonald’s community contributions are too numerous to list. Though some of his good works include being a member of the board of MADD, a vice-president on the board of FASSY, a program chair for the Special Olympics, a volunteer soccer coach and referee, a volunteer counsellor at the Canadian Cancer Society’s Camp Goodtimes and an instructor for Drug Abuse Resistance Education.
In 2007, McDonald was voted Whitehorse’s Volunteer of the Year.
Throughout, McDonald has been most proud of his work with youth.
McDonald has served as the service’s youth strategy co-ordinator with the RCMP, in addition to his volunteer undertakings.
“I’ve got a lot of personal satisfaction out of being able to help make things better for the youth,” he said.
The close connection to youth has made him an excellent advocate on their behalf, he said.
“When you sit down at a table and start talking about things that affect the youth, after 11 years in the North I think I have a good handle on the issues our youth are facing, so I like to be advocate for them at the table,” he said.
The upcoming move will see McDonald promoted to Sergeant, and install him as detachment commander in Masset, which is also his hometown.
During high school, McDonald was inspired to join the service by seeing RCMP officers in Masset who served the community as well as protecting it.
Quelling fears that he is lost forever, MacDonald said that after 11 years of serving in the North he has fallen in love with Whitehorse.
“Whitehorse is, in my opinion, the best city in Canada, bar none, for the size of its community, for the programs, sporting opportunities, culture.”
“As a person who’s volunteered a lot of my time, I’m also very proud of the people of Whitehorse as volunteers.”
Upon retirement, McDonald plans to return to Whitehorse.
His wife Fay and children Cassandra and Ryan will remain here while he is in Masset.