2016-2018 Executive Board
Ashlee Hardy, Surviving Spouse 2007
On July 7, 2007 my world was forever changed as I knew it. My husband, Wes Hardy, was killed in motor vehicle accident while pursuing a speeder. I had no idea that that morning would be the last time we kissed and hugged and said I Love You. I lost my husband, my best friend, my soul mate and my girls lost their daddy. I was lost and I didn't know where to turn or how to move forward. For years I felt stuck and like I was in a fog. Then in 2010 another widow reached out to me and suggested that I attend a Spouses Retreat through C.O.P.S. I was looking forward to a break from reality but wasn't looking forward to reliving that horrible day with all these new people.
It has been 5 years since my husband was killed and I am so incredibly grateful that my dear friend, Teresa Nava-Salazar, talked me into going to Spouses. I haven't missed a year since. Words cannot express what C.O.P.S. has done for me and my girls. We have also attended Kids Camp the last 2 years. The girls look forward to it every year. It is the one week out of the year where they feel normal and they get to be kids!!
I am excited to start a new chapter in my life as I serve and help others. I hate that I won't be the last widow to walk through our doors, but I know that C.O.P.S. has done great things for my family and I want to make sure that when a new survivor comes to us we can help them to heal and rebuild their lives.
Plano Police Department
Deanna Williams, Surviving Spouse 2012
My life was forever changed on July 28,2012. My friend, husband of 25yrs, and father of my three daughters, Officer Joshua S. Williams received his final call on earth to answer the call of the Master Keeper. Josh served with the Waxahachie Police Department for 18 years and LOVED IT. Never in my wildest dreams had I thought I would find myself in this position, widowed.
On July 27,2012 I watched my husband prepare for work. Before he left for work, Josh played with our youngest daughter, as he chased her around the house for a kiss as he did often. He turned to me said “I love you” and gave me a kiss goodbye. As the day continued, I cooked and then hit the books studying for my nursing courses. After a few hours I fell asleep. Josh called me at approximately 10:00pm to see how my studying was going and he could tell that I had been asleep. He told me “I love you get some rest, call me when you wake up”. Unfortunately I never got that chance.
Josh was dispatched to an officer assist call at a fast food restaurant, just before midnight. As he was turning his vehicle into the location of his call he was hit by a speeding vehicle,that had no headlights and operated by a drunk driver. After being transported to the hospital he was pronounced dead in the early morning of July 28,2012.
My youngest daughter and I have participated in the Hands On Programs that are available to us, Kids Camp, and Spouses Retreat. We both have enjoyed our experiences and we are glad that we have met others that were just like us. We don’t feel alone. We can all relate.
Again, I would of never imagined myself in this position, widowed. I am thankful for C.O.P.S. I have found great comfort and solace in the love, understanding and support from my fellow members. I have met some great people that have been right here besides me as I embark on this new journey in my life. It is with pleasure that I serve and help others along this road to recovery.
Waxahachie Police Department
Danielle Story, Surviving Spouse 2010
On January 13th 2010, I found myself embarking on an experience that I never ever expected to. Craig Story, my husband, long time tactical unit member, and motorcycle officer, was killed in an accident involving a school bus, while pursuing a speeding vehicle in a school zone. He’d proudly been with Arlington Police Department for seven years. This being the case, of course, we’d had the “this is what you should do if…” conversation a few times. But as a “police wife” and in order to stay sane, I set that whole line of logic aside. When Chaplain Elliott walked in, I’d been blindsided to know that only ninety minutes before, when Craig pulled out of the garage, it would be the last time I’d see the one I’d shared my life with for the past twelve years.
It had been a typical morning and, fortunately, we’d said all of our “typical” things. He’d hugged, kissed us both, and faithfully, as always, we said our “I love you’s” then the sound of his booted heels grew distant down the hall. But for some reason, he reappeared at the door, smiled, and repeated his “I love you.” At the time, our oldest son John Barrett, had just turned three and was the utter apple of his daddy’s eye. To Craig’s blissful delight, and to my later horror, we’d celebrated the news that we were expecting our second child the night before his death. As terrible as it was, we were blessed with a healthy and bouncing Colton Craig exactly nine months later, September 13th, 2010.
I hadn’t learned until later that a pair of women had arrived at my home on behalf of COPS, and because they’d come to possess the supernatural heart that is forged in one who suffers that same incredible loss. Weeks, months, and years have passed and COPS has proved a loyal and cheerful friend to myself and my family. Fours years later, and this passed fall, I let Ashlee Hardy convince me to go to Spouses only to find out that I was rooming with Amada Hurst. As fate would have it, these ladies were the two precious women who’d come to my home to hold my hand bearing the painful knowledge that none of us should have to face. I am humbled and honored to serve and stand beside others like me, along with Metroplex COPS, doing what I can while reaping the benefits of friendships that will last a lifetime.
Arlington Police Department
Deroy Bennett, Surviving Adult Child
As a 9-year-old boy my life was forever changed. I was an only child to Joyce and James “Pancho” Bennett, EOW April 3, 1980. The last memory I have of my father was him saying “I love you” early that morning as he left for his patrol day. Just hours later, I heard my mother scream begging me to come in the house. I will never forget what she said to me: “Your dad is dead.”
The last 36 years have been a blur full of up’s and down’s but the strength and courage of my father has been my Light. Following in his footsteps, I began a public safety career beginning as a volunteer fireman in high school, which led to EMT and Paramedic licenses. In 1991, my mother was faced with yet a second fear when I told her I would become a Police Officer. I would later wear a badge and gun and walk into the Decatur Police Department—the very same Department where my father served. I looked at my father’s picture on the wall every day.
I currently serve as Fire Marshal in the same city. In 2016, I was given the opportunity to attend National Police Week for the first time with my Mother by my side but we were not alone. The Decatur Police Chief who worked with my father and all the Blue Family I had never met joined us. Thanks to the Metroplex C.O.P.S., board I met other Surviving Adult Children and was introduced to the Adult Children’s retreat. I am so blessed that I was able to attend this year and plan to never miss again. It was the events this year that sparked a desire to help survivors and mentor children who will be faced with the same challenges and heartache as I was.
It’s an honor and privilege to serve and work beside three of the best board members and a huge, wonderful BLUE Family!
Decatur Police Department
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