NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The community continues to celebrate the life of Newport News Police Officer Katie Thyne — and the community vows to never forget the ultimate sacrifice she paid.
It’s a show of support for an already-strong bond within the law enforcement community, which was evident Monday night during a memorial service in Hampton.
At the memorial, a crowd of thousands packed Hampton’s Liberty Live Church in honor of Thyne. Part of that crowd included a row of the spouses of fallen police officers, who know the pain all too well.
Rebekah Broadbent lost her late husband, a Norfolk Police officer, in the line of duty six years ago. Fast forward to today, and she is working hard to make sure the world never forgets another hero.
“I’ve been there, I know what you are feeling, I know what you are going through,” Broadbent said.
It’s not a bond Broadbent ever wanted to share with others, but a bond, nevertheless.
She lost her husband, Norfolk Officer Brian Jones, during a shootout on Norfolk’s Chesapeake Boulevard. The name of Brian Jones is now inscribed on a police memorial outside Norfolk City Hall.
“I look at his name, I hear his name, I see memorial and pictures and it’s nothing but pride,” Broadbent said. “I am so proud that he was such a hero, that his name is not just on this wall but multiple walls.”
Her late husband’s name also appears on many shirts, still worn throughout the community and the world, thanks to the Honor a Hero Project.
The nonprofit’s founder reached out to Broadbent after her husband’s death and now she is doing the same for the family of Officer Thyne.
The nonprofit supports fallen officers by creating personalized memorial mementos. Honor a Hero Project officially started in 2017 through Barbells and Badges, a fitness motivation community that supports and inspired first responders, their families and supporters.
“This is something great for Katie’s little girl. She’s 2 right now, but when she gets older she can look back and see pictures or see people still wearing shirts to honor her mom and know that her mom is still remembered and honored… It’s amazing,” she said.
Right now, the nonprofit has raised $25,000 of a $30,000 goal. The money goes directly to the Newport News Police Foundation, which goes to the trust for Thyne’s daughter, Raegan. The shirts stop selling at midnight on Feb. 10.
“It’s a community that steps forward and continues to provide for this little girl even after everyone has moved forward with their life,” Broadbent said. “The blue family is so massive, that’s what got me through. That’s what still gets me through.”
Honoring those who protect others — running toward danger, instead of away from it.
If you’d like to purchase a t-shirt: https://honoraheroproject.org/products/officer-katie-thyne-memorial-shirt