2023 YRP Honouree
“I’ve had people help me along in my own life, so it’s a matter of being able to recognize an opportunity to pay it forward or simply embrace a random act of kindness.”
Inspector Gary Miner grew up in Richmond Hill, and in 2016, he will celebrate forty years in his profession with the police service. Still, he finds time to invest in volunteering and has co-managed and coached The York Dragons, a dragon boat team. The York Dragons have practiced at the Richmond Hill Canoe Club on Lake Wilcox for fifteen years with the aim to have fun while raising money for worthy causes.
For Gary, giving back was not a conscious decision as much as it was a natural evolution. Growing up with five siblings, his mother signed them up for charity routes like Heart & Stroke and Canadian Cancer Society, and they carried donation boxes for UNICEF on Halloween. As a professional, Gary has supported The United Way and the organizations funded through their collaborative efforts.
Gary is secretary of a Peacekeepers Chapter and treasurer of a barbershop harmony male chorus. When choosing a cause, Gary wonders who chooses who. He does not refuse when asked to lend his assistance, especially when it involves things he is passionate about, such as support for veterans.
“Military veterans can give you a perspective on how to appreciate the amazing country we live in.”
Gary championed a remembrance project to dedicate granite markers for the garden at the York Regional Police Recognition Stone in Georgina to honour military veterans with ties to policing. On November 6, 2015, these tribute markers were unveiled in their memory. When a colleague’s son was in Afghanistan for a year, Gary witnessed what it was like for this mother to feel the anxiety and anguish of having her son at war. He asked her what was planned to celebrate his return. This started the ball rolling. Gary persuaded some officers to volunteer and provide an escort from the airport. Then he reached out to firefighters, York Region EMS, legions, and other entities in the military, and on fifteen occasions, they have all come together to welcome the soldiers who were returning home..
Gary’s portrait was set at the York Regional Police Headquarters; significant because it is a profession he enjoys and a place he is proud of. Gary wanted to honour some of those who have had a significant impact on the person he is today.
“There are many officers who give back and some who cannot anymore– I am proud to be part of the organization that has partnered with me. Our motto is ‘Deeds Speak’ which translates to ‘actions speak louder than words’ and this philosophy has existed since well before I joined.”
Gary’s willingness to help others has had a ripple effect. Gary oversaw the Hope and Soap Car Wash initiative by Richmond Hill High School for Free The Children, where students raised money to build a school and water treatment facility in Sierra Leone. For six years, this event was held in the police station parking lot.
The Children’s Wish Foundation was one of those charities that chose Gary. A colleague became an ambassador for them after losing his son, whose wish had been granted through TCWF. Gary and The York Dragons united with the high school students again to participate in the Children’s Wish parade. In turn, the York Dragons supported the students by hosting a BBQ at the car wash. Gary reached out to the local fire department to join in by getting their trucks washed; ambulances joined as well, and more followed. Gary credits the event’s fun and success to the community’s generous involvement.
“I’ve had no problem volunteering my time to support worthy causes. Networking through your local Chamber of Commerce or BIA is a great way to encourage small business to do the same. Most charity events typically mean reaching out to companies in your community for help. Truly, without the many businesses that have kindly donated items and more, some of the work I do would not be possible”