People who walk into the Yardmen Arena will see a new name enshrined on the Wall of Honour.
Belleville native and former RCMP Officer Gerald “Gerry” Fortis was honoured Thursday morning by the Dave Mounsey Memorial Fund with a plaque and defibrillator to the Fortis family and the City of Belleville.
Fortis died in the line of duty on Christmas Day, 1997 at the age of 32 in British Columbia.
The Dave Mounsey Memorial Fund, according to founder and executive director Patrick Armstrong, is a charity that donates life-saving defibrillators to public access buildings in the name of fallen law enforcement, fire, EMS and military members who have died in the line of duty. It was created in October 2009 to honour its namesake, former OPP Constable and Royal Air Force Veteran Dave Mounsey, who died in November 2006.
Armstrong, also an Ontario Provincial Police Constable, says honouring fallen officers like Fortis is bittersweet.
Fortis’ brother Michael Fortis says Gerry was an inspiring person growing up.
Michael adds his brother’s memory will live on forever.
Inspector Andrew Cowen spent a great amount of time with Fortis in training at the RCMP Academy, Depot Division in Regina, Saskatchewan. From spending every day through six months with Fortis, Cowen says they grew close and talked about how he “lived life” and kept things light for his fellow troop members.
The defibrillator donated in Fortis’ name is the 85th in the Mounsey Fund’s history.
Also on hand for the ceremony was Belleville Mayor Taso Christopher, Director of Recreation, Culture and Community Services Mark Fluhrer and RCMP Officer Nathan Murano.
For more on the Dave Mounsey Memorial Fund, click here.