New Brunswick

The medal is in the mail: RCMP flip-flops on award

Mark Clements, a retired RCMP constable who couldn't attend a medal presentation because he has PTSD, learned Thursday that the force has given in and agreed to send him his medal by mail.

Retired Mountie Mark Clements's advice to the RCMP: 'Don’t make things so difficult'

Mark Clements shows where the medal for 25 years of RCMP service will go on his uniform, which he removed from a suit bag for the first time in five years. (Tori Weldon)

Mark Clements, a retired RCMP officer with post-traumatic stress disorder, says the sleepless nights were worth it. 

"It's nice to have this conclusion," the Riverview man said Thursday after getting a call from the Mounties. "But it was also nice to share my story."

Because of his PTSD, Clements had declined an invitation from the RCMP to receive his 25-year service medal in person.

He and and his psychologist agreed it would be best if he could get it by mail or have someone else pick it up for him.

The RCMP declined both options.

But on Thursday, just two days after sharing his story with CBC News, Clements said the RCMP called to let him know the medal is in the mail.

"It's a very simple outcome, which I requested from the start."

Since speaking publicly about his illness for the first time, Clements said the outpouring of support was good for his mental health.

"I've had other members and other police officers and people from other walks of life tell me how much its meant to them," he said. "I've had a few actually share their stories with me.

"I was told it would be therapeutic and it has been."

Debby Clements agreed that having to speak openly about her husband's illness to get him his long-service medal came with a silver lining. 

"He's kind of been quiet about his illness, and you know that creates a very, very tiny world without support and without people kind of knowing what's going on," she said.

"It's opened up his world for sure."

And more than helping just her husband, Debby said, she hopes the ordeal will help other people as well.

"I wish we didn't have to be so pushy to get something that was his, but I hope that they change it for the other members that are having similar problems too because there has to be a little more compassion and flexibility when it comes to dealing with mental health issues or even health issues." 

"So it's worth it."

Mark Clements said he's proud of the time he spent as an RCMP officer, "but I'm happy to be a retired member."

He isn't holding his breath, but if the RCMP ever asks him what it can do should a similar situation arise, he has some suggestions.

"Don't make things so difficult," he said.

"Just treat people like humans, be open and honest, and don't make such a big deal about things."

RCMP Medal

6 years ago
Duration 1:34
A retired RCMP member explains how his PTSD kept him from a ceremony to receive a medal for his service.
The interview in the video above was conducted before the RCMP agreed to mail Clements the medal.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tori Weldon

Reporter

Tori Weldon is a reporter based in Moncton. She's been working for the CBC since 2008.

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