A love of music and dedication to community earned a Winnipeg police officer top honours earlier this month.
Const. Kevin Gibson, who has patrolled the East District of the city for the bulk of his 25-year career in law enforcement, was named Winnipeg’s Top Cop by the Kiwanis Club of Winnipeg during a gala event held Nov. 9.
To win the award, he beat out fellow finalists Constable Shaun Chornley, who polices District 2 in the city (west Winnipeg), and Sergeant Geordie MacKenzie, stationed in the police service’s central reporting unit.
The Steinbach-born officer, who now resides in St. Vital, said he’s always wanted to be a police officer. He says his community-oriented mindset has helped him perform his duties on the force.
"Just realizing that as a police officer you’re like everyone else. You’re just another member of the community, just another member of your own family," Gibson said.
"Certainly being a police officer has you involved in a lot of people’s lives... but also never forgetting you’re part of that and that you have your own family as well."
It was Gibson’s love of music that drove him to create an organization to help kids in the area. Gibson, a guitarist and sometimes vocalist (he currently plays in a band named Undercover), created Status4 Inc., which provides free music and arts programming for kids.
It was largely his work with Status4 Inc. that earned him the Top Cop prize.
Gibson himself said his work as an officer made him recognize the challenges some children face, and he wanted to help them.
"In my police career, the ones I see most affected by some of the challenging circumstances of life are kids. I also see them as being the answer to these circumstances and these challenges we have," he said.
Lynne Williams, executive director for Status4 Inc., had high praise for Gibson.
"I think he’s certainly deserving of (the award), because his work is on the ground and you can see that everything he does impacts the kids," Williams said.
"The other work the other (nominees) are doing is amazing work as well. With Kevin though, it’s the heart and soul of who he is and he lives and breathes it in everything he does."
Many of those kids feel the same way. When they found out he’d won the award, they made him a plaque to commemorate the occasion. Gibson was on his own when he created Status4 Inc., which was officially established in 2011. But as he gathered people to the cause, he found that tracking down help wasn’t that tough. The organization now has friends and partners "across the country," Gibson said.
"Just with one person, you attract one person to get involved, and that leads to two and to three," he said.
"Everyone’s doing it for the same reason I am, which is to better our society, better our community. I think it’s contagious to do things that are for the right reason."
The organization’s location at the East End Culture and Leisure Centre at 575 Larsen Ave. will be undergoing significant renovations soon, something Gibson is looking forward to. The organization has grown considerably since it began, and he hopes it will continue to do so.
"It’s certainly growing, it’s certainly like we’ve planted a seed," Gibson said.
"I think if we keep feeding it, much like a plant it’ll continue growing. It certainly lets me know I’m on the right track."