Letter: A letter of thanks to Constable Hovingh and Manitoulin OPP

Going out of the way to make sure a young woman did not become a statistic

To the Expositor:

I actually met Constable Hovingh a few times. Firstly, he went to our Christmas concerts in Manitowaning. I remember seeing him and thought he looked out of place, but I wasn’t sure why at that time. He stood taller than everyone there, not because he was the tallest, that honour went to Officer Mellan. No, I think he, and Officer Mellan too, stood out in a crowd because of pride. See, at the time I also couldn’t understand how anyone could be proud of this place. There were so many petty arguments and unhealthy relationships that all the adults I knew at the time complained non-stop about living on the Island. So it was rare for me, a young Islander, to see anyone genuinely happy in their hometown. I’m sure there are more now, but back then they were far and few between. 

Another reason why I think the plain-clothed officers looked out of place is because they wear their uniforms daily. I imagine after many years you would grow accustomed to wearing uniforms over ordinary garments. Usually, they only get to wear jeans when they get time off for a special occasion, or the rare off-duty days. I’d like to quote a certain Quentin Tarantino movie and say, “that’s what Superman wears, to blend in with us.” I truly believe that just further proves real heroes could be just your average neighbour blending in. The police, fire fighters, paramedics, PSW workers, Tim Hortons employees with good work ethic, etc. The ones who dress up awkwardly to go to your kids out-of-tune Christmas concert, even when their own kids aren’t in school, or all grown up. They go because of pride, to show the community that they are there, and they care.

Constable Hovingh and the Manitoulin OPP also drove me home a few times. They knew where I lived because they made a point to know everyone in the community, even that single dad and child in Manitowaning. Maybe they also do that to make sure that in an emergency situation, everyone in the town can be safely accounted for?

Anyways, I’m embarrassed to recall how many times Constable Hovingh and other OPP officers drove me home, but I’m so grateful they did.

I was a stupid, lost girl, clearly developing a drinking problem, wandering alone between towns, in the dark, non-street-lighted bush roads. I’d also like to point out this was back when we weren’t aware of the rising missing and murdered Indigenous women cases. Actually, during that time the number of cases were growing rapidly, and I was also, stupidly I’ll add again, hitchhiking during that time as well. Who knows what could have happened to me?! From the bottom of my heart! Thank you! Thank you Manitoulin OPP for getting me back to my dad safely.

Lisa Peltier