Sgt. Mark Gallagher is coming home today one final time.
The body of the RCMP officer killed in Haiti’s devastating earthquake on Jan. 12 is scheduled to land in Moncton, N.B., this afternoon, and followed by a private ramp ceremony, will receive a police escort to Woodstock, N.B., where an RCMP regimental funeral will be held on Thursday.
An RCMP release said yesterday first responders, including RCMP, municipal police officers and other emergency respondents, will set up a “Highway of Heroes” at different routes along the Trans-Canada Highway later today to pay respect for Gallagher as he makes the roughly three-hour drive to Woodstock.
The funeral for Gallagher, a former Nova Scotia RCMP spokesperson based in Halifax, will take place at St. Gertrude’s Roman Catholic Church at 2 p.m. Visitation is scheduled for tomorrow and Wednesday.
Gallagher’s final journey home began Friday as a procession of hearses carried his body and that of Supt. Doug Coates of Ottawa along the stretch of Ontario pavement renamed “Highway of Heroes” in honour of soldiers killed in Afghanistan.
Gallagher, a Bathurst, N.B., native, and Coates were among 17 Canadians confirmed by the Department of Foreign Affairs to have died in the massive 7.0-magnitude tremor, which toppled buildings, ripped up roads and claimed upwards of 200,000 lives.
Gallagher, 50, had been tasked with program co-ordination at the UN mission in Port-au-Prince. Before starting his tour in Haiti, he spent two years in Halifax as the public-relations officer for the RCMP in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
“Sgt. Gallagher was popular with his colleagues, with his pleasant demeanour and engaging smile,” said Col. Ibrahim Moussa, the UN’s chief of police in Haiti.
Gallagher, who had just returned from leave when the earthquake hit, was remembered for being an officer with the common touch.