'I do what needs to be done': Local officer, civilian earn Ontario hero ...

9 Jun 2024

York Regional Police's Const. Adam McEachern and Melissa Styles were honoured for community involvement

A York Regional Police officer and a civilian employee were honoured by the Police Association of Ontario for their efforts in the community as recipients at the annual Hero of the Year awards.

Const. Adam McEachern received a community role model award for making a difference while off duty. Melissa Styles received an on-duty difference-maker award for her efforts with charitable organizations. The awards were presented at the Police Association of Ontario's 92nd annual meeting at Caesars Windsor Hotel and Casino in Windsor May 30.

"We appreciate the Ontarians who took the time to nominate their police heroes in all regions of the province," said Mark Baxter, president of the Police Association of Ontario, in a news release. "The award submissions this year were truly impressive and speak volumes about the outstanding dedication, bravery, and compassion our members demonstrate each and every day."

McEachern was recognized for spearheading the Autism Heroes endurance challenge, raising funds for autism services and Special Olympics Ontario. His efforts have amassed over $85,000 and garnered widespread support, significantly boosting awareness. He said he feels humbled to be included in the list of nominees for the awards.

"To not only be nominated is pretty overwhelming, but to have the honour of the actual award is something you don't ever think will ever happen," said McEachern.

He is inspired by his son, Caleb, who was placed on the spectrum at 3.5 years old. This year, McEachern had a goal to run 106 kilometres over 24 hours for autism awareness starting at York Regional Police Association headquarters on April 20 in Aurora. He said this fourth instalment of the event was the most challenging. He finished at 102 kilometres, with it snowing, and temperatures dropping to -4 C with a wind chill of -11 C.

"Over the course of the event, I sustained an injury, which I knew would happen," said McEachern. "It was challenging and very daunting, which is what it was intended to be."

Styles was recognized for her efforts with Special Olympics Ontario, particularly the torch run and polar plunge.

"I'm very humbled," said Styles. "I don't think I do anything any more than anybody else does. I do what needs to be done or what I see needs to be done."

Styles works as a special events assistant with the police force, hosting about 65 to 70 events a year with her team. 

She also volunteers her time with Victim Services of York Region, Canadian Blood Services and the York Region Centre for Community Safety.

She helps run a holiday program for victim services and assists with blood drives, community open houses for police, graduations and Halloween events.

Styles was introduced to Special Olympics Ontario when the police force held the summer games in 2015. That kicked off her efforts with non-profit organizations.

The police force was also recognized for the swift and courageous response to a report of an active shooter at the Bellaria Residence condominium in Vaughan in 2022. The police association said members of the force exemplified selflessness and heroism in the face of unspeakable tragedy.

The association said communication call takers, dispatchers, uniformed members, and non-uniformed officers involved in the incident are heroes.

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