Letter: Veteran police officer reflects on a tragedy in God’s country

Heart-breaking tragedy that a funeral befitting Constable Marc Hovingh is not possible

To the Expositor:

Although a rare event in Ontario, another law enforcement officer has died in the line of duty. All deaths are tragic, but this one strikes home. To my knowledge, in over 100 years of policing on Manitoulin, this is the first servant of the public to die by firearm. Hundreds of officers have served on “the rock” over those years, including my 14 years as a constable in Mindemoya. 

Way back when, Ontario Provincial Police, and later joined by First Nation officers, have responded to countless thousands of potentially life threatening calls across the Island. We were lucky and by the Grace of God, went on to finish our careers there or elsewhere in Ontario. 

That all changed six days ago in the place that everybody called “God’s Country.”  

I met Constable Hovingh many years ago. In reading since his tragic death, he, like so many officers before him, became a community member, through the church, clubs, baseball, hockey, fire department or simply being there for kids he interacted with. 

The deaths of two human beings in this incident are impactful for both families. We’ll never know why the actions of one resulted in these tragic consequences. Both families will suffer. 

In the case of Constable Marc Hovingh, the second tragedy is, for his family and the police sister- and brotherhood, heartbreaking. A funeral befitting this dedicated officer and community member cannot occur under our current world pandemic. A shame, but be assured, on the day the news broke of his death, thousands of police officers wearing, yellow, blue or red stripe on pant legs stopped for a solemn moment, especially those who served on that great Island community called Manitoulin.”

Larry Beach (Sgt. Retired)