Feature photo: The sign that will be located at the entrance of the Sr. Cst. John Atkinson Memorial Tunnel on The Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway located near the entrance to St. Clair College South Campus.
Dedication of the Sr. Cst. John Atkinson Memorial Tunnel
Concluding the week long Windsor Police Services’ 150th birthday celebrations, the Windsor Polices Services Board, in cooperation with the City of Windsor and the Town of LaSalle, dedicated The Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway tunnel located near the entrance to St. Clair College South Campus as the Sr. Cst. John Atkinson Memorial Tunnel.
The dedication took place before a capacity crowd on Friday, May 5 at 11 a.m. in the St. Clair College Student Life Centre inside of St. Clair College. It was attended by local and neighbouring police forces, including honour guards from the RCMP, Windsor Police, CBSA and other law enforcement organizations.
Mayor Drew Dilkens and former Mayor, Eddie Francis were in attendance, along with MPPs Natyshak and Gretzky, MPs Ramsey and Hardcastle. They were joined by representatives of Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation.
Senior Constable John Atkinson was tragically murdered while on duty on May 5, 2006. Atkinson, 37, was the first and only officer to be murdered on duty in the history of the Windsor Police Service. Each year, the Windsor Police Service marks the anniversary with a ceremony at their Headquarters.
The preamble to The Highway Memorials for Fallen Police Officers Act 2002, S.O. 2002, c. 26 reads as follows:
We must never forget the contribution of those men and women to whom we owe so much. As a gesture of our respect, we seek to honour them by permitting the Legislature to name highway bridges and other structures in their memory.
“On May 5, 2006, the City of Windsor lost a true hero. John Atkinson was a respected Windsor Police Constable, a devoted husband and loving father and son, who lost his life protecting his community,” says Mayor Drew Dilkens. “Sr. Cst. John Atkinson Memorial Tunnel will be a tangible and lasting reminder to honour John’s memory.”
This recognition is the latest in many Windsor area dedications to Atkinson over the years. “We continue to be overwhelmed by the ongoing support by this community for our family” says Shelley Atkinson, wife of the fallen constable. His children, Mitchell and Nicole, see these dedications “as such amazing reminders of our dad, and a great way to keep his memory alive.”
Video – Windsor Police Services piping in the Colours
Story, photos and video by Joe McParland – Biz X magazine