In 2012, a fight broke out in City Park during the Jazz in the Park event, held every Sunday between Memorial and Labor Day. Officer Celina Hollis was off duty that day, but rushed to the fight as a public servant, trying to break it up and keep park-goers safe. Tragically, in the middle of putting an end to the quarrel, Office Hollis was shot and killed, leaving behind a family that included a young daughter.
As a family member, it is unspeakably difficult to hear that your loved one is no longer with you. As a family member to a police officer, it is a conversation you prepare for, but hope you will never hear…and the preparation doesn’t adequately spare you the agony of losing your loved one. Within hours of being given the news, the family was visited by a representative of the Denver Police Officer’s Foundation. The representative sat with the family in their grief, helping emotionally in the way that they could, but leaving them additionally with a generous financial gift to help them with the often crippling costs of putting a loved one to rest.
“These type of things aren’t cheap. They’re really expensive…really,” says the daughter of Officer Hollis, Amyre Hemphill-Hollis. “With the donations, it really does help the families out financially, and it really kind of helps take weight off of them, too.”
The gift from the Foundation was able to cover the food costs of a large funeral with many attendees, alleviating expense concerns for the family. There was also a memorial held in Washington DC for Officer Hollis later on–one that the Foundation made sure the family could attend by covering their expenses for the trip.
Says Officer Hollis’s mother Dorothy, “We are so grateful…I cannot say that enough.”
The Denver Police Officers Foundation exists to help police officers and their families in times of financial need, even when the families are left behind. There are more stories than Officer Hollis–to read more about how the DPOF offers assistance to officers and families, read through our Mission page.