Pubdate: Sun, 28 Oct 2007
Source: Edmonton Journal (CN AB)
Copyright: 2007 The Edmonton Journal
Author: Elise Stolte, The Edmonton Journal


1,000 People Pack Arena For Memorial

HAY RIVER, N.W.T. - The widow of slain Mountie Const. Christopher 
Worden begged the town of Hay River on Saturday to make the jobs of 
the remaining detachment members easier.

"Drugs are a terrible problem in this town but the police can't do 
anything without your help," Jodie Worden told a memorial ceremony 
for her husband, who died Oct. 6 in this Northwest Territories town.

"Chris died because of the illegal drug trade. Please don't let his 
death go without meaningful consequences.

The memorial was held three weeks to the day after the constable was 
shot and killed after responding alone to an early-morning call for assistance.

Worden's body was found in a wooded area across the street from a 
known drug den. Emrah Bulatci, 23, of St. Albert, has been charged 
with first-degree murder.

At the memorial service, John Worden, the Mountie's father, came 
forward to speak with Worden's mother Mary Ann, his sister Cathy and 
brothers Michael and Peter.

The month of October used to be a month of celebration for the 
family, John Worden said. John's birthday is Oct. 2, Mary Ann's 
birthday is Oct. 13, and Oct. 6, the day Worden died, was his 
parents' 34th wedding anniversary.

"From now on, October will be a month of mourning for us," John Worden said.

Const. Jesse Gilbert, who served with Worden at the Hay River 
detachment, said Worden was "everything you think of when you think 
the iconic Mountie."

Once, after serving a full night shift with Worden, Gilbert was 
called out again, this time to a domestic disturbance.

Worden came along as back-up. Three hours later, when they were 
finally back at the detachment, they had an irate man in the holding cells.

The man was yelling, demanding to know why he was arrested. Gilbert 
was frustrated and yelling as well.

"Chris just calmly explained what had happened and what was going to 
happen," Gilbert said. "He didn't raise his voice once. The person 
just looked at him, stayed quiet for a moment, and then said 'OK' and 
walked back into the cell.

"I regret not telling Chris how much I looked up to him.

"But I'm telling you now, Chris."

Worden grew up in Ottawa. Since high school he had talked of becoming 
an RCMP officer. In September 2001 he started training for the RCMP 
in Regina. Four months later, he proposed to Jodie Lamers.

After Worden graduated he was posted to Yellowknife. Jodie joined him 
in December 2002. They married February 2003. She gave birth to 
Alexis Marie on Feb. 6, 2007. Alexis was eight months old when her father died.

Her baby scrapbook sat at the front of the arena. Inside were 
pictures of a pregnant Jodie, her belly growing each month. Other 
photos showed Worden assembling the crib and change table, baby 
Alexis at the hospital, and the family coming home.

Before Worden's funeral in Ottawa, residents of Hay River draped 
their town in blue ribbons. They called a public meeting to discuss 
drug trafficking and problems among the youth last Monday, then held 
a candlelight vigil and sang Amazing Grace in front of the RCMP detachment.

"We can't do much else," Gerty Thomson said Saturday while waiting 
after the ceremony to view Worden's photos.

"To me, it's a tribute. It's a chance to show the family that we care."

Tom Embleton, a heavy-duty mechanic, said the memorial service was a 
necessity for the town.

"It's part of healing for us, too," Embleton said. "It happened here. 
I can't tell you what (change) there will be or how it will happen, 
but there will definitely be a lot of changes."

Daniel Oteiza, who owns a Christian bookstore, said the community is 
beyond shock.

"Hay River lost its innocence," Otieza said. "We paid a high price 
for it and the tolerance is going to go down quite a bit.

"I always used to say, 'Yeah, we have a minor problem (with drugs).' 
I guess I was naive."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom