The Progress printed a front-page story written by Jennifer Feinberg recenty about a celebration to recognize the first Indigenous RCMP member (“Celebration to recognize first Indigenous RCMP member,” June 19, The Progress.)
Edward “Hawk” Kelly Jr. was to be honoured on June 26, which coincidentally was also his 80th birthday. The story went on to say that he had completed his RCMP training in 1959, two years after he had graduated from Chilliwack secondary school.
I called Jennifer and asked her if she had information about his elementary school years and in particular if he had gone to David Livingstone school in Vancouver. When I told her that I had been in Grades 1 and 2 with an Eddy Kelly 73 years ago, and although I realized that it was a bit of a longshot, she thought it was interesting enough to call him and ask.
A short time later, Ed called me and it was indeed my old classmate of so long ago. We reminisced on the phone.
His sister, Valerie, and my brother, Ralph, had also been classmates five years ahead of us in the same school. Ed asked if I would be able to attend the celebration. The following Wednesday, at this event, I was privileged to meet his lovely wife, Sue, and his family including his sister.
The celebration included many dignataries, chiefs, RCMP senior officers, Indigenous policing unit, high-water drum group, dancers, and our Mayor Ken Popove.
It was a wonderful and much-deserved honour. I would like to thank The Progress for helping me to reconnect with this remarkable and very respected man.