Remembering Hopkins Police Detective Kevin Hegyi
It's been almost two months since Hopkins Police Department Detective Kevin Hegyi, age 45, died after a vehicle struck him on his bicycle. For those who knew and loved him, his absence is felt daily as they try to pick and the pieces and move forward with daily life. For those of us who didn't know him, his legacy has touched us deeply.
Detective Hegyi was a seven-year veteran of the Hopkins Police Department, a field training officer and member of the SWAT team. Becoming a police officer was a second career for him after spending most of his adult working life in private business. His calling to the job may have come later in life for him, yet he certainly made the most of the years he served with Hopkins PD. He received several commendations and awards, including a life-saving award during his tenure. He is remembered by his colleagues as an amazing guy and partner. More importantly, Detective Hegyi was the proud father to three teenaged boys. Backing the Blue Line provided our signature blue tipped roses for Detective Hegyi's funeral service at the family's request. The roses serve as a symbol of our love and support for both the law enforcement officer and the family (blood and blue) touched by the loss. While it was a sad and somber occasion for police wives, girlfriends and partners to meet, the sense of community and support we give to each other through preparing and handing out roses strengthens our bonds and helps us all realize that when tragedy strikes the blue line family in MN, no one faces that tragedy alone. ROSE PREP IN PHOTOS
Thank you to our Fallen Officer Memorial Rose leadership and team for ensuring all the details were taken care of. Unfortunately, this particular team has become expert at all the tasks large and small that it takes to coordinate both the logistics and volunteer capital it requires to ensure our small part in the funeral goes flawlessly.
Photo gallery: Members of BtBL gather at the Hopkins Fire Department to prepare the special memorial roses.
A FUNERAL SERVICE BEFITTING THE HERO HE WAS The following day after rose prep, our volunteers gathered for Detective Hegyi's funeral service. It was a beautiful day - the sky was a brilliant blue and there was a light summer breeze. Approaching the church and seeing the dozens of first responder vehicles from all over Minnesota was the first sign of the somber reason we were gathering. Inside, we received training to ensure that our responsibilities were fulfilled quietly and efficiently.
Taking our places alongside the LEMA Honor Guard at the opening of the service brought so many emotions for each of us there. While I've done Rose Prep before, this was my first funeral as a volunteer. I felt a mixture of pride and humility standing shoulder to shoulder with some of my blue sisters. Watching officers file in together, handing them a rose and watching them clutch them in their folded hands as they walked into the sanctuary of the church was something I will never forget. It was a visual reminder that these pretty blue flowers are so much more than just flowers. It was so beautiful to see and hear person after person take a place behind the podium to paint a vibrant picture of this man who was so loved by so many. Many of the stories, quotes and verses continue to provide a measure of comfort to those who are mourning his loss.
Photo gallery below: Scenes from the funeral service. All photos provided and used here with permission of the Backing the Blue Line volunteers.
HONORING THE HERO BY SUPPORTING HIS FAMILY
When a MN law enforcement officer dies, either on or off duty, our organization has a protocol in place to connect with the family to offer support. Support can take many different forms and whatever is provided is done in line with the family's needs, wishes and permission. In addition to providing roses and volunteers, we also hosted an online fundraiser to assist the family with college funds for his three beloved sons. It was one of his dearest wishes that he would be able to provide education for his boys.
In roughly two weeks, nearly $28k was raised for his boys. We thank the members of the community at large and fellow members of the local first responder community who so generously contributed towards funding his dream for his children.
WITH GRATITUDE TO THE COMMUNITY
So many people and groups worked tirelessly together to make the services a beautiful and respectful tribute. Thank you to the Hopkins Fire Department for graciously opening their doors to us and giving us a spacious and friendly environment to prepare the blue roses. You may hear lots of cops versus firefighter jokes and see silly memes highlighting their "rivalry," but the truth is, they are there for each other without fail. Red or blue, they come together to honor and support one another.
The outpouring of love and support in the wake of his death has truly been amazing. Thank you to every person who shared the fundraiser link on social media. The ripple effect of hitting that share button continues to be felt. We would also like to acknowledge and thank the local Twin Cities television media for sharing Detective Hegyi's story to raise awareness and support for his family. The past several years have been very difficult for law enforcement officers and their families. By sharing the human side of law enforcement officers and highlighting the positive impacts they make on a daily basis out in the community, we move closer to better times.
Backing the Blue Line would also like to thank Pizza Lucé and Yum! Kitchen and Bakery for their donation of dinner and dessert for all of the volunteers that worked late into the evening on a weeknight to prepare the blue roses. Both Pizza Luce and Yum! gave selflessly to feed our volunteers and we cannot thank you enough. Your support for our mission will never be forgotten.
We thank you, Detective Hegyi, for your service to each and every one of us. Your daily sacrifices in the name of protection, service, and honor will not be forgotten.
Join Backing the Blue Line! We invite MN police wives/significant others to become members of Backing the Blue Line to take advantage of all available membership benefits and have additional opportunities to give and receive support. We also invite MN police wives/significant other to join our private Facebook group to belong to a community of support through friendships, networking, and discussion. It is also for raising awareness of the need to support our unique lives and share the bond that comes with being a law enforcement family. Find out more on our About page.