Two former Esquimalt police officers honoured

  • Jan. 20, 2011 11:00 a.m.

One man became a human shield to protect his prisoner. For another man, his desire to help youth has taken Canada by storm.

In recognition of their valour and meritorious service as former Esquimalt police officers, the men – now serving as Esquimalt firefighters – were each pinned with provincial medals at a Jan. 17 Esquimalt council meeting.

Tom Woods was awarded the meritorious service medal for his role as one of the founding members of Rock Solid, a youth violence prevention initiative. This medal recognizes those who actions go above and beyond normal expectations.

Woods’ contribution to the Rock Solid Foundation dates back to 1997 when he was an acting constable with the former Esquimalt Police Service. Today, he is vice-president of the registered charity, which has reached out to 750,000 young people across Canada.

“Tom believes in giving back to the community and he does that daily in some capacity, whether it’s to a charity, school program, sports program or some kid needing a break,” said Esquimalt fire Chief David Ward.

The province recently made changes so that the exceptional service of former officers could be recognized, said Victoria police Chief Const. Jamie Graham, who presented the awards.

He pinned the medal of valour – the highest award a police officer can receive in B.C. – on George McGregor, who knowingly putting his own life on the line to protect another.

McGregor, who now serves as an Esquimalt assistant fire chief, was an Esquimalt police constable in 1987 when he and his partner, then Const. Rob Dibden, responded to a domestic violence call. They apprehended a male and were escorting him when they were accosted by an intoxicated man brandishing a loaded revolver.

McGregor stepped in front of his handcuffed prisoner to shield him from danger, Graham told council. The officers then tackled the assailant and managed to subdue him.

“It tells me a lot about George’s character,” said Ward. “It doesn’t surprise me in the least.

“He’s very unselfish and professional in his duties. He’d do the same thing at a fire. That’s just George.”

emccracken@vicnews.com