Police officers and family members mourned the loss of Shinder Kirk on Saturday after a car crash in Nanaimo killed the widely respected police officer and spokesperson.
Kirk was remembered by APD Chief Mike Serr as “larger-than-life” with a “very engaging personality” and who “made everyone feel special.”
“It was really a privilege to have gotten to know Shinder over the years,” said Serr, who knew Kirk from both the APD and the VPD, following the celebration of life service.
“I got to know Shinder when we worked the integrated gang task force, and Shinder was just that person during the time of when we were in one of the most critical gang conflicts, was the face of that conflict, and just so engaging. When I came back to Abbotsford about three years ago, I got to meet Shinder again.”
Kirk was known to many from his media appearances – he worked as a media liaison for the APD, the RCMP’s integrated gang task force and eventually the combined forces special enforcement unit. He was well-respected by his colleagues, media and the public.
“If you didn’t have a chance to know Shinder – I know many people only got to know him through seeing him on TV, and the person you saw on TV was a person who was a real man. He was a truly caring person and he will be deeply missed,” Serr said.
But Kirk’s niece, Christy, who asked her surname not be published, told those in attendance that the affable media presence and professional colleague did, indeed, let loose around those he loved most.
“I know many of you saw the professional, well-spoken, well-dressed, put-together Shinder. That was the Shinder my family never met,” she said to laughter. “When I saw my uncle, he was always in sweatpants and faded T-shirt, flannel and sometimes crocs.”
But no matter which Shinder Kirk you met, those who presented at the celebration of life told the same story: One of a man who cared deeply for and could effortlessly get along with those around him.
“My uncle was kind, caring, compassionate and humble. He was always willing to help out with a smile on his face. I know I can speak for my family when I say we already miss him,” Christy said.
He was remembered fondly, too, by freelance videographer Kevin MacDonald, who spoke at the celebration of life on Kirk’s positive relationship with the media.
“Shinder had a heart of gold and was always willing to help anybody who asked. That was evident a few years back,” Macdonald said, pointing to a time when his vehicle was not working and Kirk called him with an offer.
“[He said] if I hear anything good, I’m to call him and he will pick me up and take me to the scenes, no matter the time. And for several months, that’s what we did. … I’m not sure any other newshound can tell a story like that.”