Sarah Beckett’s young sons, Lucas and Emmitt, dipped their hands in the wet cement to forever have their imprint on the memorial park that bears their late mother’s name.
They were beside their dad, Brad Aschenbrenner, who kneeled to do the same in honour of his late wife as hundreds came out in tribute Saturday for the opening of Sarah Beckett Memorial Playground. Among the throng were several Mounties in full dress serge.
The 32-year-old RCMP constable Beckett was killed by a drunk driver in the line of duty on April 5, 2016.
“This is symbolic of the mother and person Sarah was,” said Aschenbrenner.
“This is really fitting because she loved kids. The boys know what this playground is about and what it means. The stone on the front says it all: ‘A Life That Made A Difference.’ ”
Premier John Horgan spoke at the opening.
“Sarah was more than a police officer. She was a mother, daughter and — to so many — a friend,” said Horgan, in whose riding the playground was built.
“Sarah Beckett served our community and made the ultimate sacrifice. Her family will suffer forever because of that sacrifice.
“But even in dark times, some good comes of it. This playground will bring children together in laughter and frolic. Let’s all remember Sarah’s sacrifice in that way."
The playground is located directly behind the main Westhills Stadium grandstand and in front of the Rugby Canada Al Charron training centre.
The Rotary Club of West Shore has been instrumental in the fundraising, which included the sale of commemorative bricks.
A total of $175,000 had been raised for the playground. It was announced Saturday that Jim Hartshorne, who heads a group of Langford development companies, will top up the total for the $250,000 required for the completion of the playground.
Langford Mayor Stew Young said the timelines for getting the project ready have left him “tired, but feeling invigorated.”
“This is amazing. We come together as a community in times of need,” added Young.
“This is a solemn and joyous occasion at the same time. We will always be here for Brad, the boys and Sarah.”
The rubberized surface of the playground is in RCMP colours.