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OPP Officers honoured in awards ceremony

The Ontario Provincial Police honoured their own, as well as brave and deserving civilians, during the OPP Western Region Awards Ceremony at the Wingham Columbus Centre, on Oct. 15.Among the many honoured were Const. Dell W. Mercey, Const. Vu D. Pham (posthunously), C. Gregory "Allan" Penn and Const. Adam Nicholson. OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis presented the Commissioner's Citation for Bravery to them.MC Scott Miller was brought to tears, along with many of the awards recipients in the audience, as he described the events of that fateful day, March 8, 2010.A dispatcher from London took a call transferred from North Bay, from a complainant in Sundridge. The complainant wanted police to check on the well-being of certain people at a residence in Huron County. There had been a domestic dispute, with a possible intent to cause harm. The dispatcher gathered all the necessary information and forwarded it to Huron.Const. Vu Pham and his partner Dell Mercey responded to the residence in separate vehicles. No one was home, so they left, keeping a lookout for the suspect's vehicle. Pham spotted it and followed, while Mercey backed him up. When they pulled over the vehicle, they were confronted with an armed man. Pham spoke to him and was forced to take cover behind his police cruiser as the man advanced, with the rifle pointed towards him. Mercey radioed in that Pham was pinned behind the car. The man made his way up the side of the police cruiser. Pham was able to fire once over the hood before the man reached across the hood and shot him in the head with the high powered rifle. Mercey radioed in, "Officer down," and reversed his car to a safer distance. Mercey took cover at the rear of the Tahoe while the man advanced with the rifle pointed towards him. He shot at Mercey three times, one bullet shattering the rear window. Mercey returned fire, emptying his gun clip and reloading. Although the man had been hit several times, he continued to advance, and Mercey took cover across the road. The man moved back and forth, firing under the vehicle; Mercey returned fire. The man was hit six times before the assault stopped.Sadly, despite the remarkable efforts of officers, civilian communications members, EMS and medical staff, Vu Pham succumbed to his injuries.Accepting the award on behalf of her husband was Heather Pham, who said if her husband could have been at the ceremony, he would have said it was a privilege to be honoured with the other two officers; they are all deserving of this honour. "Bravery was imbedded in his character," she said of her husband.The OPP presented Heather with a portrait of her husband by Adam Wilkins.Lewis commented that it was the largest funeral ever for a fallen OPP officer. Receiving a special commendation for her assistance in arranging the funeral was Pat Newson, director of recreation and facilities for North Huron.

 

Please see this week's Wingham Advance Times for more stories…

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