2001 Member of the Year

Date: January 1, 2002

OPPA “Bill Elliott" Member of the Year



The OPPA “Bill Elliott” Member of the Year Award is intended to acknowledge Branch members for their outstanding contributions to their Branch, to the Association as a whole, to their communities and towards the public reputation of the members of the OPP on behalf of the OPPA. The winner for 2001, Phil Bezaire surpasses all of these qualifications.

The following article highlights the life and career of Phil Bezaire.

Phil began his policing career at the former Sombra Detachment approximately 31 years ago. He was assigned to Bill Elliott as his Coach Officer. 

Bill quickly gained Phil’s respect during the first few months of his new career. Bill fostered pride, integrity and professionalism in the young officer. Phil’s policing career and personal life have since reflected those characteristics.

Bill also introduced Phil to the OPPA, where Phil soon learned to appreciate the importance of the Association.  Phil simply grasped the vision and made it part of his life philosophy.

Later, Phil became the Detachment Representative at Sombra Detachment for several years, and was then elected to the Executive of No. 1 Branch.  He served No. 1 Branch well as Treasurer, Secretary, and then President.  The 2001 Annual General Meeting marked the 19th year of Phil’s attendance at our OPPA meetings.

During his time of service to the members of  No. 1 Branch, Phil served to the best of his ability and with dignity and honour.  Phil had the utmost respect of those who served with him, as well as those he served.

Phil was very well known in Lambton County, not only as a police officer, but also as a friend, a neighbour, and an outstanding citizen.  Phil was often found at the arena, a coffee shop, or many community events.  He always projects an exemplary image of the OPP and the Association.

Phil received his award at the October 2001 Annual General Meeting. Phil’s wife Judy was with him to share the special evening. Judy was also thanked her for patience, understanding and support of Phil for these many years.

To add a special touch to the evening was the presence of Bill Elliott, Phil’s coach officer, who presented Phil with his award.

To this day, Phil is a compassionate, caring and outgoing person.  He has set and example for us all.  The members of No. 1 Branch, as well as all members of the OPP and the Association, benefited greatly because of Phil’s tireless and selfless service. 

Congratulations Phil!