Present day Eric Ackeroyd outside the Fort St. James District Office on June 28.

RCMP constable “saved my life”

Draft dodger turned Canadian citizen seeks public assistance in finding his friend officer Glen Lawson

Sergeant Poppy Hallam reported she was flagged over by a man last week, Eric ACKEROYD who wished to ask for help and asked if the officer woulld sit down with him and talk to him.

“We sat down at the community gardens behind the Fort St. James District Office and shared a really special moment,” said Sgt. Hallam.

“He asked if I knew an RCMP officer by the name of Glen LAWSON. I said I did not. He said he didn’t think I would as Glen worked back in the 70’s but he wondered if I might be able to help find him.” Eric Ackeroyd met Glen Lawson when he was living in Wells, BC and he credits Glen for saving his life.

The story goes like this….

Eric Ackeroyd was from the United States. He fled the U.S. during the Vietnam War and was a draft dodger and sought illegal asylum in Canada and ended up in Wells, BC.

While there in 1971, he befriended the only RCMP officer working in Wells, Constable Glen Lawson. He said Glen was a very personable man and Eric would stop by and visit him at the Detachment and chat.

In 1972, the FBI began actively seeking people like Eric hiding in Canada, to return them back to the US and Constable Lawson gave Eric the heads up that they may be onto him and he might want to leave the area. Eric heeded his warning and fled up into the mountains for a few months until the coast was clear.

Then in 1972, Constable Lawson moved from Wells to the Prince George Rural Section and Eric stayed in Wells with his new wife Jacqueline whom he had met in Wells, but Eric had the concern of deportation in the back of his mind regularly. He desperately wanted to stay and live in Canada because he believed Canada stood for all that was right and peaceful in the world, but he knew he had broken the law by fleeing during the war.

Then in 1973, he received a phone call from Constable Lawson. He called to tell Eric there was an Amnesty on deserters and he could turn himself in and apply for landed immigrant status and avoid future penalty. Eric really liked Constable Lawson, but he was concerned this might be a trap. He didn’t know what to do, but he relied on the strong friendship they enjoyed and decided he would believe in Constable Lawson and turn himself in.

It worked out for him, there was actually an Amnesty and Eric received his landed immigrant status.

Five years later in November 1978 Alfred “Eric” Ackeroyd became a Canadian Citizen.

He and his wife Jacqueline enjoyed a long, happy marriage, relocating to Fort St. James where Eric still resides, only on his own now as Jackie passed away three years ago.

Eric got teary eyed while telling his story, saying Constable Glen Lawson saved his life. He said Constable Lawson had compassion and empathy for Eric’s situation and helped him out and changed his life forever and he’s so thankful.

Eric Ackeroyd is a proud Canadian and is so thankful that Constable Lawson believed in him and took him under his wing to help him have a better life.

Eric Ackeroyd would like to find Glen Lawson and personally thank him for changing his life. Eric says Glen went on from Prince George to work in Bella Coola in around 1976 and then he lost contact with him. He is not sure if he is still living in BC or if he moved back to his home province of Saskatchewan.

If anyone knows the whereabouts of Glen Lawson, Fort St. James RCMP would love to help reunite these two men so Eric can offer a proper thank-you.

– from files released by Sgt. Poppy Hallam, Media Relation Officer, Fort St. James RCMP 250-996-8269

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