Although he’s not a military veteran, when Bud Alcock heard about the horrific murders of two soldiers on Canadian soil he felt compelled to stand guard at the cenotaph in Grand Forks in support.
That’s not to say Alcock hasn’t provided great service to his country. He has worked as an RCMP officer, and in both provincial and federal corrections.
Although he “technically” retired in 2006, he has been plenty busy working as a guard at the local RCMP detachment’s jail. He also works as an animal control officer for the Boundary and has been a long-time volunteer with both the GFI baseball tournament and the downtown parade committee.
Before retiring, he worked at Matsqui Federal Penitentiary in the Lower Mainland as a correctional officer, a job he describes as being “99 per cent boredom and one per cent sheer terror.”
“It was a challenging career,” he said. “It was a very good career. I made a lot of really good friends over the years. I worked with some really good people on both sides of the bars.”
Alcock said he always had to be aware of what was going on around him because there was always the potential for danger.
“Matsqui was what was called a high-medium institution but you can go to maximum security in a matter of minutes,” he said.
Alcock said his father was a big reason he got into the police force.
“He was a police officer for 35 years,” he said. “He started off right here in Grand Forks with the B.C. Provincial Police in 1949.”
After six years with the RCMP, Bud Alcock made the switch in to provincial corrections and then to federal corrections in 1991. He retired in 2006 and he and his wife moved to Grand Forks shortly after, choosing the Boundary over the Island.
Alcock was born here in Grand Forks but had moved around B.C. growing up. Although he grew up mostly in Prince Rupert, he graduated from L.V. Rogers in Nelson.
He was glad to return to his roots after retiring.
“My wife and I were looking for a place to retire to after living in the Fraser Valley,” he said. “My wife and I came out here on a miserable, rainy Thanksgiving weekend. We toured the Kootenays and Boundary country. I thought it was going to be a wasted trip as we left. I turned to my wife and said: What’s it going to be? The Island or the Kootenays? And she said, ‘What Island?’ We felt coming down Spencer Hill was just like coming home.”
Alcock first heard about the cenotaph vigil on Facebook; it really struck a chord with him.
“The American 9-11 really bothered me greatly when I heard about firefighters and police being killed,” he said. “The bottom line is I’ve always viewed police, firefighters, correctional officers, whatever, as being the heroes. We’re the ones who don’t get hurt. We’re the ones who go in and save people. That’s what our role is. When I saw them being killed—that hurt badly.”
Alcock said that when he saw soldiers getting gunned down on Parliament Hill, it brought back all those sentiments of 9-11.
“At that time I heard the military had told their members not to wear their uniforms in public unless they’re on duty,” he said. “The police came out with a similar edict for their members, as did Corrections Canada. I thought, this is wrong. You’re forcing us to hide.”
Alcock was a member of the Corrections Canada honour guard, and, fortunately, still had his dress uniform which he proudly wore at the cenotaph while on vigil.
“I thought it was time to dust it off and stand out there and show I was proud of my uniform, proud of my service and proud of my country and show respect for both Warrant Officer Vincent and Corporal Cirillo.”