RCMP Chief Superintendent Doug Coates’ life mission was to make a difference, according to his son Luke, a captain in the Canadian Air Force.

Coates just wanted to make the world a better place, his son said.

Fulfilling that mission took Coates, a Gatineau resident, to Haiti where he worked as the acting commissioner of the United Nations stabilization force when the earthquake hit and destroyed much of the island last January. Coates was among the thousands who died in the rubble.

“It’s important to my family that we continue (his) mission,” said Luke.

Yesterday, RCMP Deputy Commissioner Raf Souccar presented Coates’ widow and the widow of Sgt. Mark Gallagher, also a victim of the earthquake, with the United Nations’ Dag Hammarskjöld Medal at the National Peacekeepers’ Day Ceremony.

Officially, National Peacekeepers’ Day is today.

The medal is an egg-shaped clear glass piece carved with the name of UN peacekeepers who lost their lives while on duty.

Just like Coates, all any peacekeeper wants to do is make things better, said Major-Gen. A.J. Howard, the officer reviewing the ceremony.

“None of us want have a greater goal than that,” he said. “That’s what makes this country unique and that’s why Canada stands behind those that would serve outside this great country.”

Shane Gallagher admits it’s been difficult getting accustomed to not speaking with his father regularly.

“We are a very close family and it was hard to get used to not having his calls all the time.”