Provincial Constable Linzi Edwards of the Wellington County Detachment of the OPP near Guelph, Ontario has been nominated by a member of the public for the 2021 Police Association of Ontario Police Services Hero of the Year Award for her work reaching out to community members off duty to assist them during the COVID19 pandemic.

The OPP Association is proud of the work our members do every day. We are always happy celebrate stories of the good work of our police officers, civilian members and retirees. 

When Linzi was notified of this honour, she was quick to state that she doesn’t do this for recognition and was quite humble about her work. Linzi explained that this was a Facebook Group about helping and being kind.

She gave credit to her two sons and many other community members who have helped her doing the outreach work. Linzi agreed to provide a photo and some more insight into exactly what she was doing which we have included in the story below.
The nomination from a community member is posted on the PAO Police Services Hero of the Year Award website, and is reprinted below, along with some examples of the help that has been provided by Linzi and her team of volunteers to the community in Halton Hills, Ontario.

Community Nomination

(reprinted from Police Association of Ontario Website)

Where do I begin! OPP Constable Linzi Edwards started a community Facebook page in Halton Hills. The page is called Halton Hills it Takes a Village. This page now has over 1,600 members.

Linzi Edwards Facebook Banner

Linzi created this page in 2020 when COVID-19 hit us and she realized there are people in need of support locally. She created the page to get the community she lives in together to support each other. This page allows people to reach out and get help for people who might be struggling. 

I was one of these people struggling with missing my family during COVID, and when Linzi brought me in as an Admin to the group in November 2020 to help with the group, what she didn’t realize is that she helped me!

We were able to help over 250 seniors during Christmas. She arranged Christmas presents for each and every senior in our low income housing in Halton Hills along with supporting the Halton Mental Health nurses and bringing joy to some of their patients that needed a reminder that community will always support them.
Linzi also helped over 13 families and was able to put together Christmas presents for them, being a secret Santa dropping them off. COVID-19 has caused people to feel isolated and lonely, and Linzi has created this amazing group to remind people they are not alone.

If someone is in need of some cheer or community spirit, she is there! I have been blessed to be apart of this and to see just how special Linzi is. She truly wears her heart on her sleeve. Linzi would help anyone and has brought so much joy to our town of Halton Hills in this very dark time of COVID.

Linzi’s true calling of being a police officer and putting others first is so evident in everything she does. I’m so proud of her and so thankful that she has allowed me to be apart of this very special group, which she started with only 1 follower to now an amazing Facebook Page giving back to everyone and turning away no one. Please take the time to check out the Facebook page and you will see the joy Linzi has brought to our community during this difficult time.

Follow Up

The OPP Association reached out to Linzi to follow up. She was very humble and reiterated that this wasn’t being done for recognition. We managed to get a few more details on all the people in the community that have been helped from this community Facebook Group.

The following is a list of the people that Linzi and her team have helped.

  • Collected and donated a car full of skin lotion for health care workers at the beginning of the pandemic.
  • Collected and donated gifts and treats for frontline workers and their children in town for Easter, as they were all working overtime.
  • Arranged and co-ordinated the Georgetown Pipe Band along with several day shift Halton Regional Police Service cruisers to attend and pay honour to the four seniors residence locations on Mother’s Day. Several seniors had contracted Covid-19 from the homes.  We drove from place to place with upbeat signs and they got to listen to the bagpipes.
  • Helped feed a family whose father had an illness and helped find the much needed medical supplies. 
  • Started a group called “Sponsor a Senior” where families helped seniors who were afraid to go out during the pandemic to do their errands and cook meals. Over 23 families were involved and still continue to do so.
  • Care packages were made for those who are struggling or homeless. The packages were filled with donated new items like toiletries and hats and snacks and place them out weekly.
  • During the Christmas season, 13 families were sponsored with a total of 25 children to make sure every child had gifts and provided a Christmas dinner for each family.
  • Helped the family of a mother who is going through chemo with finding her a phone and supplying meals during this time.
  • Provided 250 gifts for low-income seniors who would normally not get anything
  • Helped the Halton Hills youth make handmade cards and we gave these to seniors
  • Currently helping raise food and funds for young man who had no heat and needed his furnace fixed. Funds were raised to pay for the parts and to buy him kitchen appliances and heaters. In the process of raising some money to get his cat spayed.
  • Fed 7 families who are low income and struggling every week, by making meals and having donations of bakes good, delivering them each Sunday afternoon.

How To Nominate Police Service Members For the 2021 Police Services Hero of the Year Award 

The Police Hero Awards are open for nomination for all OPP members, as well as members of all PAO affiliated police organizations in Ontario (RCMP and Toronto are not members). Click on to nominate: 

  • Nominations need to include a written or verbal description (through the online nomination form, email, Facebook direct message, or Twitter direct message) as to why your local police personnel should be considered for the PAO Police Services Hero of the Year award in one of the following three categories:
    • On-Duty Difference Maker – Uniform Officer (An officer(s) who has gone above and beyond the expectations of the job while on-duty)
    • On-Duty Difference Maker – Civilian Police Service Employee (A civilian police service employee(s) who has gone above and beyond the expectations of the job while on-duty)
    • Community Role Model (A police officer(s) or civilian police service employee(s) who has made a difference in their community while off-duty)
  • The deadline for 2021 submissions is Monday, March 15, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
  • All submissions are kept strictly confidential. No names will be disclosed without the expressed written consent of the nominator. 
  • Winners will be announced during the Police Association of Ontario’s virtual Annual General Meeting in June.
  • Police hero award nominees must be one of the following – an active sworn/uniform police officer or an employee of a municipal police service in Ontario (such as a 911 Dispatcher, Communications personnel, Court Services personnel, Forensics ID personnel, etc).
  • Please note, as they are not members of the Police Association of Ontario, nominations will NOT be accepted for police officers or civilian police personnel with the Toronto Police or RCMP.
  • Nominations must identify a specific ‘police hero’ to be recognized and identify whether they are a uniform or civilian member of their police service.
  • Nominations must indicate which of the three Police Services Hero of the Year Awards categories they are nominating a ‘police hero’ for.
  • Nominations must include reference to an occurrence where the ‘police hero’ has gone above and beyond the call of duty while on the job or in their community.
  • Nominator must identify themselves in the submission for the purpose of verifying validity of content.
  • Nominations must come from members of the public – police personnel cannot nominate each other for these awards.
  • PAO Awards Committee members are ineligible for the Police Services Hero of the Year awards.

Written by Scott Mills, OPP Association with excerpts from the