Just recently, I attended the Funeral Service for the (late) Police Sergeant Edward “Eddie” Wilson. Before very long into the service, I realized that I was in the midst of something quite remarkable – and very refreshing. This feeling stayed with me throughout the entire service, and lingered well beyond.
Sergeant Eddie Wilson’s funeral brought together all strata of the Police Force who converged upon Holy Family Catholic Church with his family and friends to mourn him. The Commissioner of Police, in a kind gesture, determined that Sergeant Wilson, though retired, would be accorded the honour of a military funeral. At the funeral, the commissioner spoke eloquently about Sergeant Wilson: as an officer who he respected as his senior (in age); as one who did things the right way; as one who was respectful; as one who was loyal; as one who served commendably; as one who brimmed over with love for his family; as one who received great love and support from his wife; as one who loved the Police Force; and as one who served with integrity. He was a policeman’s police.
Like many, Eddie Wilson joined the Police Force right out of high school. It was his chosen career. And it was a noble one. In many ways, the Police Force was a second family to Eddie. He worked diligently in the mechanic shop as one of the police force’s top transmission specialists. He retired after twenty-five (25) years. The experience acquired as a Police Officer gave him more career traction to serve as a gaming inspector at the gaming board for a few years before he became ill.
What further impressed me at the funeral was to see young officers who may not even have known their retired colleague form an honour guard made up of eight sergeants and gently place his coffin on the carriage. Meanwhile, other officers stood sweating, but unflinching in the wilting heat, never abandoning their post from the church to the graveyard, until his internment ceremony was completed. They performed an heroic task – for a Bahamian hero. I saw the Police Force grow in stature before my very eyes.
Through it all, I discerned that the out-pouring of love that I witnessed was nothing less than a reflection of Sergeant Eddie Wilson’s own character. Monsignor Alfred Culmer, perhaps sensing the same thing, wisely cautioned in his homily that, “There is no need to seek to elevate Eddie on the occasion of his death to a higher station than he occupied in life.” Nevertheless, the impact of Eddie’s outreach was on display for all to see. And it was felt widely.
Yes, we know that like all men, Eddie Wilson had his share of flaws. But to see him accorded such a high level of respect was very refreshing and gratifying. Eddie’s example is an example that all Officers ought follow. There is no doubt in my mind that Eddie’s family would feel greatly encouraged by this display of love and affection during their time of mourning. May God continue to shower them with his mercy and surround them with his love!
I would like to take this opportunity to commend Commissioner of Police, Ellison Greenslade for the inspired leadership of the Police Force that I saw displayed. To stop and honour a fallen colleague who served and served well is extremely admirable. I have no doubt that this gesture, simple as it was, had a profound effect on all who attended. The Police Force made me proud that day. It is inhabited by men and women who – like the late Sergeant Eddie Wilson – go into harm’s way, day in and day out,and put their life on the line.
In closing, I would like to commend Eddie’s family and the families of those who have died to God’s eternal rest; and appeal to the wider community to pray constantly for the Police Force, and our entire law enforcement community, as they seek to keep us all safe.
Thank you very much for allowing me the space.
Jacquelyn K. Sawyer