Grace A. Erickson, wife of Sergeant (Rtd.) Myron Erickson, was honoured in a public ceremony at the Ashcroft RCMP Detachment last week.
The Unpaid Second Man award was created in 2010, with over 450 RCMP wives from across Canada having received the award to date with over one third of those in BC.
The Unpaid Second Man award acknowledges the support and voluntary duties that they provided to the RCMP and the communities in which they and their families were posted to.
Throughout the 50’s and up into the 80’s, many of these isolated posts had members living quarters attached to the detachment and as a result many duties fell to the wife while their spouses attended to calls or were absent from the office while out on regular patrols.
Myron Erickson served in Tuktoyaktuk NWT from 1972-1973, and Fort Rae NWT from 1973-1975 with his wife, Grace, and their family.
Grace answered the phone, took complaints from people who came to her door. Scrubbed blood from her door step the next morning. She would go to bed at night with the radio on her pillow afraid to sleep in case she did not hear a call for help. She did all of this while raising two small children.
Retired Sgt. A. Harold Clark and Mrs. Ruth Lee Knight authored books that described the dedicated efforts of some of these women. The books titled, The Unpaid Second Man and When the Second Man was a Woman chronicled the hardships, dedication and sacrifices that these women made to support the RCMP and served as the catalyst to these awards.