Run To Remember Heroes in Life
On the eve of what would have been her 22nd wedding anniversary, Jenny Hong joined Survivors of Law Enforcement (SOLE) and provincial law enforcement members on September 23 at Queen’s Park for the start of the 19th annual Run to Remember to Ottawa for the Canadian Police and Peace Officer’s Memorial.
Just over a year ago, her husband, Traffic Services Constable Andrew Hong was fatally shot at a Tim Hortons in Peel while on lunch break.
The Motor Squad officer was in Mississauga for joint police services motorcycle training.
“I will do my best to get to Ottawa, whether that be running or jogging,” she said at the site of the Ontario Police Memorial where her husband's name was etched in the Spring. “If Andrew is looking down, I know he would say he is proud of me and our family because we have hung in this long without him.”
Andrew, affectionately known as Honger to colleagues, started his policing career at 42 Division after graduating from Toronto Police College in 2000. He then served as a member of the Motor Squad for 14 years, patrolling in a traffic safety capacity and training other officers.
“In addition to his impeccable service, Andrew was also an amazing husband to his wife Jenny and their two children Mia and Alex,” said Chief Myron Demkiw. “We are honoured to have his family here today. I cannot imagine how challenging this past year has been for his wife and children. She truly is a shining example of strength and resilience. It is incredibly touching that she is not only here today to honour Andrew’s memory, but their wedding anniversary. Thank you for joining us today and thank you for remaining connected to our police family. We wholeheartedly appreciate you.”
The Memorial Run was launched in 2005 to create awareness of the police memorial service in Ottawa on the last Sunday of September, and to raise money for trust funds for the families and memorials established in memory of police officers who have died in the line of duty.
Superintendents Kim O’Toole and Christopher Kirkpatrick and Inspector Heather Nichols took part in the run for the first time.
“In the last year, we have lost far too many officers in the line of duty,” said Kirkpatrick, who is the 51 Division Unit Commander. “I am delighted to be part of this paying tribute to these heroes.”
A total of 11 Canadian law enforcement officers died in the line of duty in the last year.
“It has been a devastating past 12 months for us and if ever there was a time to come together to honour the collective loss, it is now,” O’Toole said.
The Toronto Police participants in this year’s Memorial Run wore armbands with the names of fallen Toronto Police Service (TPS) officers who have been carved into the granite wall of honour at the Ontario Police Memorial.
O’Toole, the 55 Division Unit Commander, ran for Detective Constable Bill Hancox who was stabbed to death in August 1998 while working undercover.
He was assigned to 55 Division at the time of his death.
For Nichols, the run is personal.
She worked with Detective Constable Jeff Northrup at 52 Division.
The veteran officer was killed in the line of duty on July 2, 2021.
“The most important thing police officers who are still serving can do is pay tribute to those we have lost in the line of duty,” said Nichols, who is at 53 Division.
Though retired, Kim Yeandle still feels obligated to be part of the Memorial Run.
“I have done this before and honouring law enforcement members who made the ultimate sacrifice is something I will always do,” the former Staff Superintendent said.
A total of 282 runners from 22 provincial law enforcement agencies took part in this year’s 460-kilometre Run to Remember and 700-kilometre Ride to Remember.
Arriving in Ottawa on Saturday, they will participate in the Canadian Police & Peace Officers Memorial Service on Parliament Hill.
Ontario’s Solicitor General Michael Kerzner noted that public safety exacts a heavy toll.
“For so many, especially the families, the memories are still fresh and so is their pain,” he said. “This year has been difficult, but to the families here, there is no loss greater than the loss of your own loved one and we know that. But we need to remember the lives we have been given to continue on, even on days that seem absolutely impossible.”
Public Safety Response Team Inspector Don Theriault led the Ride to Remember from the Ontario Police College in Aylmer to Canada’s capital.
The 165 riders raised $5,000 for the Ontario Police Memorial.
“Our ride and your run is our time to honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” Theriault said. “They were each a friend and colleague who were incredibly dedicated to the communities they served. My friend and colleague was Jeff Northrup who was a prince of a man. He represented the best of us and if you can think of somebody in your own life who is incredibly dedicated to his family, friends and colleagues, that was Jeff Northrup. When I ride, Jeff is someone I think of.”
Ontario Police Memorial Foundation President Jason Tomlinson said the Run to Remember is far more meaningful than a marathon or Sunday jog in a park.
“This run has purpose,” he said. “It brings us together to show our love and support for the families of loved ones of officers taken too soon. It honours their memories. This is a physical act of remembrance and, with each stride you take, there may be discomfort and pain. But you will know in your heart as you push yourselves to the limit with each difficult step that you are bringing comfort to others.”
Nearly $546,000 in donations have been made since the run started with 24 Peel Regional Police participants.