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Monday, February 7, 2011

In Memory of Reg.#17379, S/Sgt. D.J.A. Burgess


In Memory of Reg.#17379, S/Sgt. D.J.A. 'Art' Burgess
Longest Serving member of Burnaby Detachment

'Friends Not Forgotten'

An article on the front page of 'Burnaby Now' published on July 21, 2010 recently caught my eye. The piece shows a photo of an eleven year old boy by the name of Justin Heussner? Recognize his name?

Turn back in time about 1965. My first two years were spent at Burnaby Det. Exciting days, great memories. I recall all my early NCO's, but two, in particular, took me under their care. Sgt. Ken Jenson help me purchase my first car, and Cpl. 'Art' Burgess took me home for family suppers. Art and his wife told me stories; Mrs Burgess knew Vancouver's geography and Art knew the name of every teen suspect  responsible for B an E's. His recall didn't require a notebook. I was impressed by any member wearing one star. In uniform, Art would have had two up.

At the time, I was on uniform foot beat on North Hastings. But, Burnaby Detachment also had a GIS Plain Clothes Unit; Northrup, Holmes and Proke come to mind. As I recall, the GIS Unit consisted of a two person 'Youth Detail' -- Cpl. Burgess was the senior of the two -- they were assigned to Burnaby's problem kids and the like. On midnights, Art would slip by with a coffee and check that I was OK. Great cover.

Reg.#17379, S/Sgt. 'Art' Burgess joined the Force in 1951. I'm not sure of his early postings but it's said that Art eventually reached a milestone by having been the longest serving member at Burnaby Det. Art retired in 1989 and he died in 1993. He is buried in Burnaby, BC

Back to Justin Heussner. He's since had a birthday so he's twelve now. I don't know Justin or his parents, but he's announced that he wants to join the Force someday. Perhaps 'Air' Division. He's been inspired. Seems to know his path in life and I admire his aim. Got the impression from the article in 'Burnaby Now' that Justin has his head 'well mounted'. In my opinion, he's heading in the right direction -- to the RCMP.

Justin Heussner loves his grandfather. So happens to be my 'ole friend Art Burgess. Justin actually never met his grandfather, but Justin's parents have told him many, many stories of his grandfather while Art was in the RCMP.

One of Art's stories led Justin eventually to a well hidden group of graves. As it turns out, the graves were once the resting place of convicts who had been hanged at Burnaby's Oakalla Prison. Justin's grandfather, Art Burgess was a witness to the last hanging at Oakalla in 1959. Later, Art told his daughter (Justin's mother) about the hanging and showed her the forgotten cemetery in the woods.

Justin lives near the old cemetery and he attends a neighbourhood school. Last year, he was assigned a school project so he chose to investigate the graves in the cemetery. The convict's remains had layed in the cemetery since 1932, but they had been exhumed and moved in 1960. The graves are very apparent.

In the Burnaby Now article, Justin said that stories about Art Burgess and the school project have brought him closer to his grandfather. I hope that Justin got an 'A' grade on his assignment; he deserves it.

Justin, here's a secret; while in school, always count an 'A' as your best friend. 'A' also stand for 'Art' Burgess. He's your grandfather and he's my 'ole friend. Well done Justin! Someday we'll talk.

'Maintain Our Memories'

J. J. Healy,

Credit: newspaper: 'Burnaby Now', July 21, 2010. Journalist, Janaya Fuller-Evans.

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Dear Friends,

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