Mounties fulfill man's lifelong dream with deathbed swearing-in ceremony
Assistant Commissioner and Commanding Officer for the Manitoba RCMP Jane MacLatchy (left) swears in 88-year-old Jack Ervin Russell as an honourary member of the RCMP. (Source: Manitoba RCMP)
WINNIPEG -- Becoming a Mountie was a dream 88 years in the making for Jack Ervin Russell. On Friday, Manitoba RCMP made that dream come true.
In 1951, when Russell was 20-years-old, he was accepted into the RCMP, but he had to decline because his family needed him in Elva, Man.
After the 88-year-old was diagnosed with a terminal illness and with only days to live expected, Manitoba RCMP said they wanted to put Russell's thoughts at ease.
On Friday, Assistant Commissioner and Commanding Officer for the Manitoba RCMP Jane MacLatchy swore Russell in as an honorary Mountie.
A video shared to social media shows Russell-- wrapped in blankets with one arm in a sling-- salute MacLatchy and say, "Thank you."
Russell swore the oath of allegiance and was presented with a certificate and an engraved cap badge.
MacLatchy told CTV News it was an emotional moment.
"There's a level of sadness that he's at the end, but also a sense of -- I don't know, gratitude almost that we could do something for him," MacLatchy said. "It was a special moment for me too, as commanding officer to know that we could grant him that wish."
MacLatchy said Russell told her this meant the world to him.