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Posted: February 5, 2018

Honour guard for a fallen comrade

e-KNOW Editorial

An honour guard of Cranbrook Fire and Emergency Services (CFES) members and RCMP officers from the Cranbrook Detachment and East Kootenay Traffic Services, as well as the BC Conservation Officer Service, accompanied Captain Clayton Murrell to McPherson Funeral Home this afternoon.

Capt. Murrell’s life was taken in a terrible highway crash near Irishman Creek Saturday, Feb. 3. The life of the semi-truck driver who collided with Clayton’s pickup was also lost.

Clayton’s wife Joan MacKinnon remains in critical condition in the Kelowna General Hospital.

Two horses Clayton and Joan were towing from Creston were also killed in the crash.

Contributing factors in this collision were icy roads and driving too fast for road conditions, RCMP reported. The tractor-trailer driver lost control on black ice, jack knifed and went into the oncoming lane. He was also not wearing a seat belt.

It is tempting to now comment about the state of affairs on regional highways in regards to drivers not driving to the weather conditions. But that is for another time.

Now, the City of Cranbrook and area mourns the loss of a towering pillar of our community and prays for Joan.

The honour guard met an honour guard from the Creston Fire Department, who transported Capt. Murrell to near the city and was met by about 15 fire trucks and peace officer cruisers. A brotherhood and sisterhood of souls dedicated to preserving and protecting everyone of us, carried a comrade home today; a comrade who spent 25 years serving and protecting. A man who took his duties beyond the shift and endeavoured to teach and prepare others. A man who devoted down time to teaching and helping children and youth.

A man who every single person this writer has spoken to or read social media comments from, shared stories speaking to his warmth and endless friendliness; a welcoming smile beneath his trademark mustache.

“I am shaken and devastated as our community is today. Rest well Clayton, words cannot possibly express my feelings right now,” stated Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka.

After the honour guard delivered and saluted their fallen comrade, they spent a few private moments together, with members of the family, and then began departing – heading back to work; the job.

Back to risking their well-being and lives – for all us of.

Today is a sorrowful reminder of their daily sacrifices. Yes, Clayton wasn’t working when he was killed but those who attended the crash scene were friends and peers. And it just doesn’t matter. People like Clayton are rare.

This is a dark time for many people who loved and knew Clayton.

When the truly, earnestly, spectacularly good are taken from us – we all look mortality’s way, knowing the odds.

This is that time.

To Clayton’s family, and to his peers and comrades and friends, we wish you peace and strength and love. And we pray for Joan.

Rest well Captain Murrell. It was a great honour knowing you.

By Ian Cobb/e-KNOW Editor

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