A little boy who captured the hearts of Kings County residents, as well as police officers across Canada, has died.
As Kings District RCMP Inspector Chris MacNaughton put it, Andrew Kennedy of Cambridge “will always be our honourary staff-sergeant.” He was an inspiration to everyone who knew him and his memory will live on in hearts and minds for infinity.
The seven-year-old, who was diagnosed with brain stem glioma in 2011, died July 7, his family announced on their Facebook page. The family posted last week that Andrew had a chest infection and was in the IWK.
The Cambridge boy dreamed of becoming a police officer and, last December, members of the Kings District RCMP made his dream come true when he was inducted into the force as an honourary member. Police officers from across the country sent greetings and gifts to the smiley little boy.
“We all had a gleam in our eyes when we were with Andrew,” MacNaughton said.
RCMP members and other police and emergency services across the county, province and country gave generously and selflessly to support one of Andrew’s greatest dreams: to become an RCMP officer.
Just as these emergency service providers rallied around Andrew in December to give him a special birthday celebration at the New Minas RCMP headquarters, McNaughton said they will now rally around his family with heartfelt condolences and their deepest sympathy.
“Our RCMP family felt very blessed to get to know Andrew the last few years,” MacNaughton said. “Andrew was a true inspiration for all of us. We all looked up to Andrew.”
MacNaughton said the RCMP and other emergency responders gave so selflessly because they wanted to make a difference in Andrew’s life. This is why they always put together events and activities for Andrew. They wanted him to feel like a full-fledged Mountie because, to them, he was and always will be. She said they couldn’t be prouder of their honourary staff-sergeant.
McNaughton said Andrew’s family became very engaged with the RCMP over the past few years and they took advantage of every opportunity to do something special for Andrew. MacNaughton said police couldn’t be more pleased to have been able to do what they did for Andrew and his loved ones.
“Our prayers and thoughts are with them today,” she said.
Andrew was also an honourary member of the Kentville Fire Department. Chief Ryan MacEachern said their condolences go out to both the Kennedy and Fairclough families. He said four of them are veteran members of the department. MacEachern said the fire department community would be there for the families to help support them in the difficult days to come.
"He brought a lot of cheer to people," MacEachern said about Andrew.
MacEachern said the Kentville department would be participating in the funeral service on Saturday. The smiling young man instilled in many people just how precious life is.
At his birthday celebration last year, his dad, George Kennedy, said it was overwhelming to see the outpouring of support for Andrew from police agencies and civil servants across the country.
“It’s very nice, it’s very touching, it’s heartwarming and we’re all very thankful and grateful for everyone who has taken part in this today,” George said.
He said Andrew was quite excited by the surprise waiting for him at the police station that day. There was a plaque presentation and gifts, handmade cards and special mementos poured in from police agencies and emergency service providers across Canada, filling the table in the Kings District boardroom in New Minas to overflowing. Dad George, mom Janet Fairclough, brother Robert and sister Leigh were all on hand for the surprise.
The Kennedy family spoke with kingscountynews.ca last year about Andrew’s diagnosis during Brain Tumour Awareness month, because they wanted to help other families who may be facing similar diagnoses.