The Ontario Provincial Police said good-bye to one of their one this weekend.
The funeral of Manitoulin OPP Constable Marc Hovingh was held with the utmost respect for the officer who was killed in the line of duty on November 19th after responding to a property dispute in Gore Bay.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford attended his funeral this Saturday and offered his personal condolences to the family.
Ford says he stands strong for them and all the officers since he has close family ties to policing himself.
“I wanted to pay my respects to Marc’s wife and children, the community at large, and to the officers. I support all our police. They do an incredible job they put their lives on the line and this is such a senseless, tragic situation that we’re facing.”
Ford says he has a special message for Marc’s widow,
“I want to thank them for Marc’s service and I know when you’re married to a police officer, my three daughters are with police officers, you know you’re involved when you’re missing birthdays, you’re missing anniversaries, you are missing Christmas, a lot of times when they’re working. I just want to thank them and tell them I will always have their backs and I’ll always support them.”
Now with COVID-19, the Premier acknowledges it has been a difficult and policing services have had sort of an extra layer of duty added to their work because they are the ones who have to implement the COVID-19 protocols and policies, so Russell asked what would Premier Ford like to say to Marc’s fellow co-workers and police agencies across the province.
“Stay strong! We’re going to get through this. We are all having challenges, from small businesses to our place to the community, but we need to stick together and we will get through it.”
The funeral was held at Manitoulin Secondary School in M’Chigeeng.
Hovingh’s wife Lianne spoke to those in attendance thanking everyone in attendance and those who have sent their condolences.
She shared a story of a ride along that she took with her husband, chuckling at how Marc’s supervisor had prodded Lianne to push her husband to write some tickets while out on patrol.
On two occasions Hovingh pulled over a motorist and knew who they were; one of whom had been having a tough year and the other’s wife was pregnant, and on both occasions Hovingh let them off with a warning.
“He pulled over a third car that day and I asked, ‘what’s the point if you’re just going to let him go?'” said Lianne. “He told me that he didn’t know what that person was going through and what kind of day they were having and that he had a chance to make their day better by letting them off with a warning.”
“Thank you for what feels like an ocean of prayers,” said Lianne. “I’ve felt no anger…whatever you’re dealing with, love will do a better job than anger.”
“Thank you for what feels like an ocean of prayers. I’ve felt no anger…whatever you’re dealing with, love will do a better job than anger.”
Hovingh’s brothers Al and Hans both spoke about their “little” brother, with Hans recalling what a kind and gentle person Marc was.
“He was a man of kindness, of gentleness and of love,” said Hans. “He was always ready to drop anything to help someone.
“He loved his pets all of his life, I’d often catch him snuggling with his pet rabbit, Bun-Bun.”
There were also tear-filled remarks shared by one of Hovingh’s long-time colleagues, Mary Ford, who spoke of Hovingh’s love for the water.
“He worked as a marine operator, he loved to go out on the water,” said Ford. “Marc, you are a hero, we love you and we miss you.”
She said Hovingh’s care for his community “went hand in hand with his work as a constable.”
Ford trained with Hovingh through much of their policing career and is a close family friend promising Lianne and her children, that “not only she, but all her fellow co-workers would always be there for them because you are family.
“Over the past week, I have heard numerous stories about Marc and the loads of little things he did to help brighten people’s day. I never knew about most of them, because Marc didn’t need credit,” Ford said.
“If we could all be a little more kind to one another, if we could be a little more humble and if we could do things, kind things, when no one was watching, I am sure that our little corner of the world would be brighter.”
When she left the podium, she hugged Lianne and gently touched her friend’s casket.
Ontario Provincial Police commissioner Thomas Carrique was shared a heartfelt message with all his officers in speaking of his fallen comrade and thanked the Hovingh family for the honour and privilege to honour Marc.
“I’m here with a broken heart, I’m so sad but so proud at the same time; proud of the manner in which Marc served his community. I feel gratitude to Marc for his dedication to duty, yours was a meaningful life.
“We are grateful and forever indebted to you for your service.”
Constable Hovingh served with the OPP for 28 years, over 20 of them on Manitoulin Island.
He is survived by his wife, Lianne and four children: Laura, Nathan, Elena, and Sarah.
He was 52.