2020-01-01

The woman who always gets her Mountie…a gift

by Peter Barss

This is the 40th year Eva Wile has delivered a handmade Christmas wreath to the Bridgewater detachment of the RCMP.

The tradition started in the fall of 1979 when Eva tooled up to the detachment in the brand new white Thunderbird her husband bought her for her birthday.

"I was driving by the RCMP offices and I was just so excited about the T-bird I had to show someone, so I pulled in."

The officers on duty took a break and stepped out into the parking lot to admire the sleek lines of Wile's birthday present. One of them jokingly remarked that even when the car was standing still it looked like it was exceeding the speed limit.

"Be careful in that," he said with a smile. "We'll be keeping an eye out for you."

Shortly after that visit, Wile received a letter from S/Sgt. H.F. Wheaton thanking her "for dropping by." That Christmas she returned to the detachment with a wreath she had made.

Wile is 85 now and hasn't driven for eight years but she still makes sure "her Mounties" get a wreath for the holidays.

"I haven't missed a year since 1979. I just love everything about the Mounties. My home is full of all sorts of treasures that remind me of the men and women in the Mounties. I think of them as my family."

"Eva drops in to see us now and then and she always brings us a treat," said Cpl. Ted Munro. "And we always look forward to the cards she sends us for New Years, Saint Patrick's Day, Easter and Thanksgiving."

Wile often surprises the detachment with a box of chocolates. On one visit, nine years ago, Wile asked Cpl. Munro if he liked chocolates. He said chocolate-covered cherries were his favourite and told her that when his colleagues returned to their desks he would pick out all the chocolates with cherries.

The next day he found a gift wrapped box of chocolate-covered cherries on his desk. From that day on, Cpl. Munro has celebrated his birthdays, and every Christmas with a special box of chocolate-covered cherries, a gift from Wile.

He smiles when he says that Wile also brings him a box of those chocolates on Valentine's Day. The Valentine's chocolates are a source of humour, especially for his wife and family who often kid him about having a girlfriend.

Wile tries not to play favourites. Members of the RCMP at the Lilydale and Liverpool attachments also look forward to her visits, her cards on holidays, and the not infrequent box of chocolates.

Wile's love and respect for the RCMP goes far deeper than Christmas wreaths and sweets.

Wile has visited the RCMP detachment at Mayerthorpe, Alberta, where four RCMP officers were killed 10 years ago. She also met with members of the detachment in Moncton where three officers were murdered in the line of duty.

"I think meeting the surviving officers and talking to them helped a little. It's important just to let them know that someone cares."

At one point the Bridgewater detachment gave Wile a quilt "with mounties all over it" in recognition of the support she's given them. When one of their officers was ill with a terminal illness Wile took the quilt to the hospital and gave it to her.

"That's all I could do. Those were such sad days. So sad."

Cpl. Munro says sometimes it feels like the RCMP "doesn't have many fans" but people like Eva keep "us going through the tough times."

"It's very encouraging to have people like Eva who support what we do. The special relationship between the RCMP and Eva has taught me how small gestures can have a positive impact. We should always take the time to show kindness toward one another. Eva is a very special person."

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