Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Sergeant Erin Marie Hehl

Illinois State Police, Illinois

End of Watch Thursday, October 30, 1997

Leave a Reflection

Reflections for Sergeant Erin Marie Hehl

14 years Erin, the world has not been the same since you left us that early October morning.

Jane Hosteny Msgt. Retired
ISP

October 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Erin. I miss you. You will never be forgotten.

M/Sgt Jane Hosteny (Retired)
Illinois State Police

February 3, 2011

Well Erin your 13th year from your EOW has passed. We all still miss and love you.

Msgt Jane Hosteny (Retired)
ISP

November 16, 2010

It has been 12 years today and I long for a chance to spend an afternoon with you to talk, laugh, and have a Baileys and coffee. I miss you Erin!

M/Sgt Jane Hosteny (retired)
ISP

October 31, 2009

Your heroism and service is honored today, the 12th anniversary of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

After reading about you, I am honored that I can leave a reflection for you. There is no doubt that you were an extremely professional and competent trooper who gave it her all. Reading about your passion for life is inspiring.

To your family: I understand the meaning of lives forever altered and know the pain of losing a beloved never goes away...the pain and the pride are forever. I share your parent's anquish in losing a beloved child which surely has to be life's greatest sorrow. I pray for solace for all of Erin's loved ones.

Rest In Peace

Phyllis Loya

Anonymous

October 30, 2009

Erin,
It was always a pleasure working with you. I especially remember the later months when you were pregnant with your son Brendan and you were assigned to desk duty. We spent many shifts together working, laughing and eating at the District 4 Operations desk. We had our "food fests" and always joked that Brendan was eating all of it. I enjoyed hearing your stories of your time working with the Marine Unit and meeting your husband Bob. I also remember when you came to work wearing a beautiful black Tag Heuer diver watch that Bob had bought you, with a men's version for himself. I bought the same watch for myself and think of you whenever I check the time. Bob was fortunate to have found a wife like you, even for such a short time. You were caring, loyal, honest, and an all around good person. I wish there were more people like you in the world. Whenever I think of that tragic day of Oct 30, 1997, I still get all misty eyed. I pray that your family has found peace with the passing of time.

M/Sgt D.J. Salinas - retired
Illinois State Police

August 27, 2009

Thank you Trooper Hehl for your dedicated service to Illinois and to the USA. May your name and memory be everlasting.

Lieutenant
Dept. of Defense, Retired

January 12, 2009

I never had the chance to meet Erin because she passed before I met my husband, but my husband Jeff talks of her often and says she was a very loving and fun person. He said she had a warm and tender heart and was proud to be an officer. I wish I would have met her I know I would have loved her...not as much as he did but I know we would have been great friends. Jeff said they shared a lot of laughs and he misses her dearly and thinks of her often. We love you Erin and jeff misses you so much....keep singing with the angels and we will see you in heaven.

Love Benita & Jeff Palenske (Today is October 29, 2008 ,,jeff misses you Erin...xoxoxox)jeff would love to keep in touch with the Family of Erin. Please email him at [email protected]

Benita Palenske
her friend (Jeff Palenske) wife

October 29, 2008

Trooper Hehl your work on this Earth as we know it is done. You are in God's Hands now sister. May you rest in peace.

SGT. Daryl Brewer
Clarksville Police Dept. Clarksville, Tennessee

April 28, 2008

"The Badge"

He starts his shift each day
To respond to calls unknown.
He drives a marked patrol car.
A police officer he is known.

He's paid by the citizens' taxes
To make it safe on the streets.
But he usually has a second job
'Cause a waitress has his salary beat.

Now he doesn't know a holiday
'Cause he works all year round.
And when Thanksgiving and Christmas finally arrive
At his home he cannot be found.

He's cursed and assaulted often,
The one whos blood runs blue.
He seldom ever gets a thanks,
To some he's just a fool.

His friends are always other cops
'Cause people just don't understand
That underneath his badge and gun,
He's just another man.

He knows there might not be a tomorrow
In this world of drugs and crime.
And he gets so mad at the court system
'Cause the crooks don't get any time.

And each day when he leaves for work,
He prays to God above.
Please bring me home after my shift
So I can see the ones I love.

But tonight he stops a speeding car,
He's alone down this ole' highway.
It's just a little traffic infraction.
He does it everyday.

Well, he walks up to the driver's window,
And his badge is shining bright.
He asked the guy for a driver's license,
When a shot rang through the night.

Yes, the bullet hit its mark,
Striking the officer in the chest.
But the Department's budget didn't buy
Each officer a bullet-proof vest.

So he lay on the ground bleeding.
His blood wasn't blue - His blood was red.
And briefly he thought of his loved ones
'Cause in a moment the officer was dead.

In the news they told the story
Of how this officer had died.
And some who listened cared less,
But those who loved him cried.

Well, they buried him in uniform
With his badge pinned on his chest.
He even had his revolver,
He died doing his best.

Written By:
David L. Bell
Sergeant
Richland County Sheriff's Department
Columbia, South Carolina
Used with Special Permission of the Author
Copyright © 1999 - All Rights Reserved
and may not be duplicated without permission

Investigator David L Bell
Richland County Sheriff's Dept., Columbia, SC

January 7, 2008

Erin,
It has been 10 years since your last great Christmas Party. I think of you often. Brendon is taller than you! You would be very proud of him. I miss you...

M/Sgt Jane Hosteny
ISP

December 26, 2007

You are remembered today and thank you for your service

Pat Van Den Berghe, Manchester, NH
Neighbors for a Better Manchester, NH

October 29, 2007

The first time I met Erin was in the academy dorm. I was there for my first attempt at instructing cadets. She was there for underwater search and recovery team training. My first impression was, “Who is this confident, self assured trooper? She hasn’t been on as long as I have but she seems to know more than I do?” I later learned.....her name was Erin Sweeney.

The next time Erin crossed my path was several years later at the Illinois State Fair....her name was now Erin Hehl. This was Erin’s first year working the fair, but you couldn’t tell it by her air of confidence or her lack of shyness....I had worked the fair the prior four uneventful years and my duty assignment had been in headquarters with Trooper Ross Jennings. I knew Ross and he had been on the job for well over 20 years......he had worked every fair in his career except for one.....Ross came on the job when men were men and so were troopers. Ross was the boss...he was the “Desk Trooper”. Whatever Ross said, we did. No one, except the Lieutenant, ever tried to tell Ross what to do. On the second day of this fair, as I stood and listened to Erin explain to Ross the “ lid up and lid down” etiquette of the unisex bathroom...I thought this is gonna be one fair I will never forget...it was. Aside from the daily routine of trying to convince Ross that we were his equal, Erin did the normal fair rituals. We purchased the obligatory license plate key chains, the clay state trooper statue and ate each meal either out of a cup, cone, or off of a stick. That is where the normal fair rituals stopped. Erin loved to have fun so she signed us up for the cow milking contest...but for some reason I was the one doing the milking and she was the one doing the picture taking and the cheering. She bungee jumped...I didn’t. She managed to get us on the channel 20 news. She talked our way onto the chartered plane at the airport, with the Beach Boys and David Cassidy, after their grand stand show. While she and I were busy getting autographs....the crew was busy preparing for takeoff. She also talked our way off the plane, after the stairs were rolled away, the door was closed and the plane was in last preparation for takeoff. I looked out the window and saw our squad car setting unattended on the tarmac, both front doors open and the overhead red and blue lights going. My first thought was, Oh man! I can’t wait to hear her explain this to Ross.

During that fair Erin became my very close friend. In the years that followed we spent weekends at each others homes. Her family became my family. She came to my Halloween costume party and went on her first hayrack ride. She came to my house for Easter Sunday. I went to her house for her dad's birthday party. She spent 4th of July in my swimming pool. We vacationed together each year in Mexico. But Christmas.....Christmas was always at Erin’s. Christmas belonged to Erin. It was at Christmas when Erin gathered people and shared her talent for knitting a web of friendship between each of her guests. Erin didn’t stop there, she was willing and actually preferred to share her collection of friends with anyone who wanted to be her friend. Erin shared her happiness with her friends and demanded that her friends share their happiness with her. That was her way, she took the time to stop and take an interest in people and those people soon became her new friends and then they became friends of her other friends and so she would knit the web.

One of the last times I saw Erin she came to my home. Erin had been asked to come to the academy to speak to the cadets about Air 1 and its capabilities. She wanted to stop by and show me her presentation and a video that she had made of an Air 1 mission. When she arrived we did our hello “dance” and then I told her I wanted to go with her so I could watch her presentation. She said absolutely not. As she pushed the tape into my VCR she said that my presence would make her too nervous. Without missing a beat the tape started playing and she started explaining the mission and what was happening. With each sentence I could hear the pride and excitement swell in her voice. I could hear her dedication to Air 1 and its’ crew. I was overwhelmed with her determination to become a pilot for Air 1, which she had accomplished. Erin was so happy. She had her husband Bob, a Chicago Police Officer, she had the apple of her eye, Brendan, she had her family, she had her friends, and she had her career.

The phone rang at 5 o’clock in the morning on October 30th 1997. I heard C.S.I. Jill Rizzs tell me that Air 1 had crashed...........
Erin was aboard.............
There were no survivors........
I was numb with disbelief ...............
I still am.


Spoken by Master Sergeant Jane Hosteny on November 12 1998, at the Dedication of District Chicago Training Room.

M/Sgt Jane Hosteny
Illinois State Police

September 7, 2006

You will never be forgotten -- you rest in peace ma'am -- as you gave the Illinois citizens -- YOU'RE DEDICATION AND PROFESSIONALISM...


Illinois State Police Training

April 30, 2006

ALTHOUGH IT HAS BEEN 8 YEARS, THEY ARE NEVER FORGOTTEN.

THIS A SONG THAT I HEARD ON THE RADIO AFTER MY SON WAS AMBUSHED AND KILLED AND IT HELPED TO SUSTAIN DURING THOSE DAYS:

"I WILL SEE YOU AGAIN SOMEDAY"

I REMEMBER YOUR LAST TOUCH,
BUT TODAY THAT MEMORIES NOT ENOUGH,
TO KEEP THESE TEARS OUT OF MY EYES,
TO FILL THIS VOID LEFT IN MY LIFE,
THOUGH WE MAY BE FAR APART,
YOU STILL LIVE HERE IN MY HEART.

I'LL SEE YOU AGAIN SOME DAY,
WITH OPEN ARMS YOU'LL COME MY WAY,
YOU'LL BE THERE AT HEAVENS GATE,
AND ONCE AGAIN, WE'LL EMBRACE,
OH, I'LL SEE YOU AGAIN SOMEDAY.

THROUGH THE YEARS I COULD ALWAYS COUNT ON YOU,
UP TO THE END YOUR LOVE HELPED PULL ME THROUGH,
KNOWING YOU HAVE MADE ME STRONG,
THROUGH MY LIFE YOU WILL LIVE ON,
MISSING YOU IS NOT QUITE SO HARD,
EACH DAY I WILL REMIND MY HEART,

I'LL SEE YOU AGAIN SOME DAY,
WITH OPEN ARMS YOU'LL COME MY WAY,
YOU'LL BE THERE AT HEAVENS GATE,
AND ONCE AGAIN WE'LL EMBRACE,
OH, I'LL SEE YOU AGAIN SOME DAY,

OH, I'LL SEE YOU AGAIN SOME DAY,

GOD BLESS AND KEEP, MAY HIS FACE SHINE UPON YOU AND GIVE YOU PEACE.

LORRAINE BOND (MOTHER)
HAMILTON COUNTY, TN. DEP. SHERIFF:
DONALD K. BOND, JR.
EOW: 09.06.01


October 30, 2005

Policeman's Prayer to St. Michael
St. Michael, Heaven's glorious Commissioner of Police, who once so neatly and successfully cleared God's premises of all its undesirables, look with kindly and professional eye on your earthly force.

Give us cool heads, stout hearts, hard punches, an uncanny flair for investigation and wise judgement.

Make us the terror of burglars, the friend of children and law-abiding citizens, kind to strangers, polite to bores, strict with law breakers and impervious to temptations.

You know, St. Michael, from your own experiences with the devil that the policeman's lot on earth is not always a happy one; but your sense of duty that so pleased God, your hard knocks that so suprised the devil, and your angelic self-control give us your inspiration.

And when we lay down our night sticks, enroll us in your Heavenly Force, where we will be as proud to guard the throne of God, as we have been the city of men. Amen.

Rest In Peace sister,

Sgt. John Huinker
Niles P.D.

September 18, 2005

Sergeant E.Hehl you came to my aide several times...THANK YOU & AIR 1,may God blees you.

ofc.roberson

August 8, 2004

Although our paths never crossed, I have crossed paths with a mutual friend.
That friend speaks highly of you and how you have touched her life. I can see the pain and sorrow in her face and the hear the small quiver in her voice when she mentions your name. She doesn't talk about your death as much as she talks about your life and your family. When she does, there comes a smile, then there comes a giggle, then sometimes outright laughter as she reflects on your friendship. Your memory lives on because of who you are and what you meant to others.

Thank you for your service, thank you for your sacrifice, but most of all, thank you for being a friend to my friend.

Lt. Charles Hertz
Woodbury County, IA Sheriff's Office

July 6, 2004

Rest in peace trooper. Watch over us as we continue the watch.

Senior Trooper
Virginia State Police

September 11, 2003

We will not let you be forgotten...rest in peace, my sister


Peace Officers Memorial Foundation of Cook County Illinois

September 1, 2003

This Officer is not forgotten.

Anonymous

Your bright smile and laughter during our academy days will always be remembered. Bless you and yours.

Stacie Ferris

Sergeant Stacie Ferris
Illinois State Police

rest in peace. 01/21/03

S. Yates
Concerned citizenl

Erin,
Lots of laughs working the E-way with you. Wish you were still here with us but I know you are in a better place. The sentiments of your father Joe rings true with the Illinois State Police WE WILL NEVER FORGET

Sergeant. Dist 4
Illinois State Police

October 30,1997 was the saddest day of my life. In loosing you I lost a major part of myself. The pain and sorrow has not diminished, I have just learned to live with it a little more each day. Your son Brendon is you. He has not or will I ever let him forget you. Your time with him was a short 31/2 years but the bound will last forever. I love you and miss you very much.

Joseph F. Sweeney
Father

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