Garth Burlock has called Golden his home since 2001. (Garth Burlock photo)

Garth Burlock has called Golden his home since 2001. (Garth Burlock photo)

‘It’s tough to articulate unless you’ve experienced it’; Golden military and RCMP veteran reflects on Remembrance

Garth Burlock spent seven years in the military before joining the RCMP, retiring in 2013

After decades of travelling and relocation from his stints in the army and the RCMP, Garth Burlock found his way to Golden and made it his home. With his son signing off on the ski hill, Burlock transferred to the Golden/Field detachment of the RCMP, which he retired from in 2013, moving his family one final time.

Initially arriving in 2001, it had been a long journey for Burlock, who originally hails from the Maritimes and joined the military right out of high school, in 1981.

Burlock had always seen himself as a police officer, but daunted by the lengthy and difficult process of joining the RCMP, he opted instead of enlist as a medic in the armed forces.

“I thought I would get a good background and good life experiences and then try the RCMP again,” explained Burlock.

“But I didn’t, I ended up staying almost eight years in the military and it was a pretty sweet job, cool in every sense of the word.”

Burlock went through six levels of medical training and eventually qualified as an airborne medic, trained to parachute into hard to reach areas to triage, bandage, splinter and stitch up patients in hard to reach areas.

“My airborne training was a feather in my cap,” said Burlock.

“I’ve worked in emergency rooms alone, hands on surgery, lots of interesting stuff, but the airborne training, that was pretty cool.”

With his training, Burlock had the opportunity in 1986 to travel to Norway with NATO and the Fifth Brigade, which included his unit, for a training scenario.

Comparing the set up to the TV show M*A*S*H, Burlock says that he dealt with real life casualties, in stark contrast to the training and pretend injuries and scenarios that he was used to on the base.

Many were as a result of training accidents.

During his seven years of service, there was no active conflict that the Canadian government was committing it’s military to, but soldiers still had to train to prepare for a potential future conflict, says Burlock.

And while he eventually did leave the military for the RCMP in 1988, he says he saw many of his friends leave for the first Gulf War within a few years of him leaving the army.

“They worked it first hand in what they were trained to do, this wasn’t some training exercise,” said Burlock.

“I just think back to some of my really close friends that aren’t here anymore, it’s a weird sensation, it’s emotional.

“Part of you is sad, part of you is proud, it’s tough to articulate unless you’ve experienced it.”

Burlock was released from the military in December of 1988, when his application for the RCMP was accepted after nearly three years.

After completing his training in Regina, SK, Burlock was transferred to Kelowna, B.C., where he hit the pavement in uniform for the first time, staying there for 12 years. According to him, working in Kelowna was non-stop and with his son getting older, he started to look for a new place to take his family where they could settle down.

He was offered Golden and never looked back.

Having been here for almost two decades now, Burlock says he’s blown away by the support the community has for it’s veterans and the respect they show on Remembrance Day.

“For a small little town, I take my hat off, they do it well,” said Burlock.

“It’s not Ottawa, but it doesn’t have to be, that’s not the point. The idea is that we’re here to honour those that went before us and honour those that we’ve lost even just since last Remembrance Day. It’s a time of reflection/

“I hope that someday the world will stop fighting, but there’s no end in sight yet. But we can always hope right?”

Remembrance Day

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Movie crews filmed a holiday parade in Summerland in July. The parade, filmed on Main Street in Summerland, is for the movie, The Christmas Yule Blog. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
47 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

1,538 total cases, 399 are active, ten in hospital

Employees at The Bargain! Shop pose with Santa at last year’s toy drive. There will be no photos with Santa this year to keep him healthy for Christmas, but the toy drive will be back for a fourth year. (Claire Palmer photo)
Fourth annual toy drive fundraiser underway

The Bargain! Shop is looking to raise $5,000 locally

Friends with Dorothy opens in Victoria.
LGBT2Q+ lounge Friends with Dorothy opens second location in Victoria

The Kelowna-based lounge plans to open in Victoria mid-December

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 65 new cases of COVID-19

Province-wide, there are 887 new cases of the virus

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

(Randy Mills/@poohbah431111 - Twitter)
Motorcyclist rushed to Kelowna General Hospital after collision

The collision occurred around 7:15 p.m. at the intersection of Highway 33 and Gerstmar Road

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Former Vancouver Canucks goaltender Richard Brodeur discussing his paintings with the executive director of the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan Kirsteen McCulloch. (Contributed)
Former Canucks goalie King Richard’s art displayed at Kelowna gallery

Richard Brodeur starred in the Vancouver Canucks’ 1982 Stanley Cup run

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

A confirmed case of COVID-19 at Vernon’s Silver Star Elementary School has been reported. (Google Maps)
COVID case confirmed at Okanagan elementary school

Member of Silver Star Elementary community in Vernon self-isolating at home; parents alerted Nov. 28

Most Read