ENFIELD: The Enfield RCMP officer who was tragically killed in the line of duty by a gunman on the loose on April 19 is being remembered for the “smile that lit up a room” and her bravery.
Const. Heidi Stevenson was among the 22 people killed between Portapique, Wentworth, and Milford, before he was gunned down by RCMP at the Irving Big Stop in Enfield. She leaves behind a husband and two kids.
Her friends and fellow RCMP comrades are remembering her for how she lived, rather than the way her life was cut short.
“Heidi was a sweet, beautiful person inside and out,” said Dana Johnson of Waverley. “Her smile lit up a room and her laughter was contagious.”
Johnson’s husband Ken teaches with Stevenson’s husband, Dean, at Cole Harbour High.
“Our hearts are broken,” said Johnson.
Paula Brachvogel of Fall River said she could not believe it was Const. Stevenson that had died.
“My heart broke when I found out the news,” she said. “I can’t believe it’s real.”
She mentioned how Const. Stevenson had just made a joke the day before about a post she made about losing her phone.
“Heidi you were always there to help no matter what, strong sweet and always with a little goofy humour,” said Brachvogel.
In her obituary, posted April 23, it says that Const. Stevenson grew up in Antigonish. She was an active member of the local 4-H club and an avid reader and baker in her youth. Heidi graduated from Acadia University with a Bachelor of Science in 1993.
During her 23-year tenure with the RCMP, Const. Stevenson held many different roles most notably her time spent representing the force across the continent with the RCMP Musical Ride (a job she took without even knowing how to ride a horse).
“Whether it was general duty, community policing, communications or training, Heidi dedicated herself to her role, turned her colleagues into friends and was a role model for many in the communities she served,” reads the obituary.
Brachvogel also had a message of support for Heidi’s husband Dean, and children Connor and Ava.
“Words can’t express how sorry I am for you,” she said. “You three are her life’s love and entire world.”
Patti Greenlaw had recently made some wipes for Heidi’s patrol car.
“A beautiful soul with eyes and a smile that would light up any room,” said Greenlaw in her Facebook post.
Const. Cheryl Ponee, who worked with Const. Stevenson at Cole Harbour RCMP and Enfield RCMP detachments, remembered her fondly.
“She was coming on my group fitness trip to Cuba in May,” said Const. Ponee, now stationed in the Annapolis District RCMP. “Even when it was cancelled because of Covid19, she remained positive and was excited about going next year.”
She said Const. Stevenson was always “bubbly and positive.”
“My heart goes to her family as she lived for her kids Ava and Connor and her husband Dean,” she said.
“It was hard putting my uniform on today (April 20),” said Const. Ponee.
Deidre MacIntyre, an RCMP Constable who worked with Heidi out of the Enfield detachment, said she was a great co-worker.
“Your family was always your number one priority and it was evident as your face would light up every time you talked about them,” said Const. MacIntyre. “You were a Police Officer, my co-worker, my back up, my friend but most importantly a wonderful mother and wife.
“There are no words to express the loss we feel and how much we appreciate the sacrifice you made.”
Two local kids took it upon themselves to create a sign they could place at Heidi’s memorial. It was their way of paying tribute and letting other members know they support them.
The sign Paige and Brock Andrews had help from their mom to make said: “Thank you so much for keeping us safe. We are thinking of you in this sad time.” It was then signed by the four family members.
“We thought it was the right things to do,” explained Paige when asked why she wanted to make the sign. “They’re hurting so we thought this my help them see they have our support and help them heal.”
The obituary summed up Stevenson much the way her friends described her.
“Heidi was the neighbor who waved at everyone. She was the busy parent who volunteered at the school. She was the friend who delivered cinnamon buns and homemade bread. She was the second mom to many kids who came over to play,” the obituary reads. “She was the gentle smile when you needed it most.
“Heidi made an impact on this world and words can’t begin to express how much she will be missed.”
A private family service will be held in the days to come. A proper celebration of Heidi’s life will be planned later.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Foundation.
A GoFundMe account was setup for Const. Stevenson’s husband, Dean and their two children. As of 12:30 a.m. on April 23, $69,280 had been raised. The organizer has currently disabled new donations.