Family, colleagues remember police officer killed in crash

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Const. Travis Gillespie was pronounced lifeless on the scene of a crash final Wednesday

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MARKHAM — A York Area police officer killed in a automotive crash was remembered Thursday as a household man with a optimistic outlook, an excellent sense of humour and a lifelong dedication to serving communities.

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Uniformed officers from throughout the Better Toronto Space gathered to pay their respects at a funeral for Const. Travis Gillespie, who died whereas driving to work final week. A 23-year-old man has been charged with impaired operation inflicting dying within the crash.

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Gillespie’s companion, Melinda LaPorte, spoke of their 26 years collectively “being greatest mates, not realizing that your soulmate was there the entire time.”

“He was my companion in life and all around the greatest particular person I had ever identified. He was the proper a part of me,” she mentioned, dabbing tears with a tissue.

In his final days, LaPorte mentioned Gillespie, 38, hung out together with his nieces and nephews, went on runs together with his brothers and hung out together with his dad and mom constructing cabinets and serving to with chores. She reminisced on his plans to construct a halfpipe of their yard so he might train her how one can snowboard.

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“We spent most of our days strolling trails with the pups, singing and dancing within the kitchen … having huge bonfires, when mosquitoes acquired so dangerous that he insisted we rush all the way down to the lake down the street for a dip in the midst of the evening,” she mentioned. “He would say again and again to me, ‘Melinda, I’m so pleased.”’

Gillespie’s two youthful brothers informed childhood tales, described his ethos of arduous work and the bond they shared.

“Even now, with him gone, it’ll by no means die,” Gillespie’s youngest brother, Scott, mentioned in an audio clip performed by his cellphone, as he was unable to talk.

Those that labored with Gillespie remembered him as an completed co-worker with a humorous facet.

“You’ll hear tales of this legendary determine … of his prowess as an officer, of his legendary partying, of his whirlwind of positivity and hijinks,” mentioned Michael Walton, Gillespie’s former colleague at Metrolinx, the place Gillespie labored as a transit officer for 11 years earlier than becoming a member of the police power.

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“He was really bigger than life … there’s not an officer of Metrolinx that doesn’t have a number of tales of the place Gillespie picked them up after they have been down, helped them grow to be a greater officer.”

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Walton spoke of Gillespie’s “huge fraternity” of mates who beloved him and his ardour for combined martial arts. The officer’s household established a scholarship fund that shall be awarded to a toddler practising martial arts every year in his honour.

Between tributes, pop-punk songs chosen by Gillespie’s household stuffed the room. Images of him sporting a smile in his uniform at work, being drawn on by his nieces and enjoying varied sports activities lit up screens on the venue.

Talking on the funeral, Ontario Premier Doug Ford mentioned “this has been a horrible week for everybody throughout the first responders households.” On Wednesday, Ford spoke on the funeral for Toronto police Const. Andrew Hong, who was shot lifeless at a espresso store in Mississauga, Ont., final week in what’s been referred to as an ambush assault.

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Ford mentioned he didn’t know Gillespie personally however spoke with a neighbour who had identified the officer since he was a bit boy.

“He was an exquisite, enjoyable, loving man, an enormous assist to older of us in the neighborhood, washing home windows up excessive on a steep roof that solely a cat might attain,” the premier mentioned.

York Regional Police Chief Jim MacSween mentioned the power is lucky to have had Gillespie as a member for the previous two and a half years.

MacSween mentioned the various members of Gillespie’s platoon in attendance illustrated “how a lot they valued and revered Travis, and the way a lot they, too, are grieving his loss.”

Following the service, tons of of officers lined up silently beside each other as Gillespie’s coffin, draped with a Canadian flag, was introduced out of the Markham funeral residence to be taken to Cramahe Township, the place Gillespie was raised, for a personal interment.

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