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Mounties, locals honour Const. Neil Bruce 50 years after his death

04/11/2015 09:30 EDT | Updated 06/13/2015 10:59 EDT
It has been 50 years but Bill Lang still remembers vividly the day he first heard about the death of RCMP Const. Neil Bruce.

"We went to the door, and the Daily Courier was sitting on our front step and that was the headline," said Lang, now a retired vice principal, told Daybreak South.

"And we read the story and it was absolute horror."

In April 10, 1965, Bruce was shot while attempting to rescue a young woman who was being unlawfully confined in a cabin in Powers Creek. He died four days later at the age of 26. He left behind a wife and two children.

Bruce's family, West Kelowna residents and Mounties will take part in two events next week to mark the 50th anniversary of his death.

Lang didn't have a personal relationship with Bruce. But he says he will always remember Bruce as the kind officer who once responded when his mother called the police about an incident involving his father. After that, Bruce would occasionally stop by the house to see if everything was well.

"He was the guardian angel and protector of our family situation," Lang said. "I knew that had ended [when he died]."

In 2000, a new middle school in West Kelowna was named after Bruce. Lang said he helped advocate for the name because at the time, most schools in the area were either named after regions or streets.

"Driving my car, suddenly it came to me," he said. "Why not? Why not Neil Bruce? He fits in so well."

A ceremony to honour Bruce will be held at 10:30 a.m. PT on April 14 at Glen Canyon Regional Park in West Kelowna. Constable Neil Bruce Middle School will also host a reception later that day at 1 p.m. PT.

To hear the full story, listen to the audio labelled: RCMP, local residents pay tribute to fallen Mountie 50 years after his death

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