MONCTON – A New Brunswick man hailed as a hero after an attack on Parliament Hill last year says people need to respect the sacrifices police and soldiers have made for freedom in Canada.
Kevin Vickers made the statements while attending a fundraising event for military veterans and their families.
“I have in recent years noticed Canadians seem to be getting back to our traditional ways of getting out there on November 11 and showing the respect that the fallen soldiers deserve,” he said.
Vickers is credited with killing Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the gunman who stormed Centre Block in October 2014 after killing Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial.
He had been serving as the Sergeant-at-Arms at the House of Commons at the time. Since then, he’s been named Canada’s ambassador to Ireland.
He’s also been recognized for his efforts. Recently, he received the Order of New Brunswick.
Vickers, who is a native of Newcastle, said his Miramichi roots have helped him deal with what happened.
“New Brunswick people are known for their values and the most important one of that is respecting the dignity of people so I think it’s those values that have served me very well,” he said.
Vickers was a keynote speaker at the event. While addressing nearly 600 people, he praised the RCMP for their work during the police shootings in the Moncton.
On June 4, three officers were killed and two others were wounded in the city’s north end. The man responsible for the shootings was captured over a day later.
“At the critical time when called upon to serve and protect your families and children they were there wearing the values of our country on their hearts and sleeves,” he said.
“You did not panic and you did what had to be done. You supported your police officers.”
Vickers also spoke about Sgt. Andrew Doiron. He was killed while serving in Iraq with the Canadian Special Forces earlier this year.
“I also wish to acknowledge the sacrifice of the Doiron Family and the incredible contribution in keeping the true north strong and free the Canadian Forces,” he said.
The event was organized by Atlantic Maple Leaf. The group helps raise money for veterans and their families through community events.
Elisabeth Rybak speaks for the group and says Vickers presence gave the event a special meaning.
“It certainly ads a certain gravitas to the event and Mr. Vickers is truly a national hero to all Canadians,” she said.