Memorial run in Barrie for slain OPP Constable Greg Pierzchala

Some of the funds raised will go toward creating a scholarship for a student at the high school where Pierzchala attended

The sun beat down on the throngs of people who gathered at Barrie’s waterfront on Saturday afternoon for the first annual Provincial Constable Greg Pierzchala memorial run.

Pierzchala was shot and killed last December when he responded to a report of a vehicle in a ditch in Haldimand County.

The 5k run began at Heritage Park and was attended by Greg’s siblings, dozens of police officers and their families, some of Greg’s former teachers as well as OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique.

The waterfront played a central role in Greg’s life growing up in Barrie, according to his sister Justyna.

“During high school, specifically, Greg and my other brother Chris, every morning would go down to that Barrie waterfront, drop Greg off at his rowing, and then go running and that was their morning routine.”

During the opening ceremony, Justyna explained why her brother loved being a police officer.

“He loved to serve the community and provide service over self,” she told the crowd. “He died providing service over self. He died an honourable man.”

Before the run started, a moment of silence was held for OPP Sgt. Eric Mueller, the officer gunned down on Thursday in a village east of Ottawa. Two other OPP officers were wounded.

The tragedy was not overlooked by OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique.

“I feel your hurt and I feel your pain,” he said. “We share a sense of anger. But this afternoon is a time to set that all aside and to reflect on the why, why we do what we do, and why Greg did what he did.”

Greg was known for telling people to “get it done,” and Carrique reminded people of that in his speech.

“What do we do next? We do what Greg would have done, and we get it done,” the Commissioner said. “We take responsibility and pick up where Greg left off and where Sgt. Mueller left off. We lead our organizations, and our communities forward with integrity, with honesty, and with courage that very few have to do what you do each and every day.”

Funds raised from the run will go to Holy Spirit Parish in Barrie and to establish a scholarship for a student at St. Joan of Arc Catholic High School, where Greg used to be a student.