A young RCMP officer who started his career in Masset has died in an off-duty snowmobiling accident near Kugluktuk, Nunavut.
Constable Graham Thomas Holmes, 30, was snowmobiling home from Kugluk Territorial Park with a fellow officer friend on April 6 when he missed a sudden drop-off and plunged over a 30-metre cliff.
Holmes fiancée, Kelsey Foote, said in a statement that it was a bright spring day, and the sun may have made it hard to see the drop-off.
Riding behind on another snowmobile, his friend narrowly missed the same fall.
Foote said residents of Kugluktuk, where Holmes had volunteered for a posting, were shocked by his passing, calling him a very approachable and friendly officer.
Holmes was also well liked during his two years in Masset, where he was posted shortly after graduating from the RCMP depot in Regina in 2009.
From Masset, Holmes was posted to his hometown of Shawnigan Lake, B.C. to be close to his father, who was terminally ill. Holmes and Foote met in 2012, and in 2016, they decided to move to Nunavut, where Foote worked as a teacher and then as a community wellness co-ordinator.
Holmes was brought home to Shawnigan Lake on April 11, where he was met by a procession that included friends and family as well as RCMP and other first responders from Shawinigan Lake, Westshore, North Cowichan, and Duncan.
“They will cherish their memories of his sense of humour, generosity and adventurous spirit,” said Foote, noting that her fiancée had a passion for the outdoors as well as other experiencing other cultures. She and Holmes were engaged last December after he proposed to her on a beach in Tofino.
“His passing leaves an empty space for all who knew him,” Foote said.
“He will be deeply missed.”
Donations can be made to a scholarship fund in Constable Graham Holmes’ name at Island Savings, account 2642940.