Funeral for Guelph police officer Jennifer Kovach honours a fallen hero
Fan-Yee Suen, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Thursday, March 21, 2013 6:16AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, March 21, 2013 11:23PM EDT
As Const. Jennifer Kovach was laid to rest Thursday, friends, colleagues and family members remembered the 26-year-old Guelph police officer killed in the line of duty as a hero who loved her job.
“As Jennifer would say, do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and just leave a trail,” Kovach’s mother, Gloria, said during the funeral service at Guelph’s Sleeman Centre.
Gloria described her daughter as a fearless tomboy, telling the crowd of uniformed police officers, dignitaries and members of the public that she was destined to be a cop.
“Jennifer didn’t just go to work, she lived her dream. She loved this community and the people in it and whenever she could, she would take the time to check up on somebody,” she said.
Gloria’s emotional tribute was given a standing ovation as she kissed her daughter’s casket.
A number of dignitaries, including Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and the province’s Lt.-Gov. David Onley, were also in attendance.
“[Jennifer’s] names will be inscribed in the chronicles of heroes who have lost their lives in the line of duty,” Onley said. “Jennifer represents the virtues that we admire most as a province and as nation.”
Onley’s sentiment was echoed by Guelph Police Chief Bryan Larkin, who described Kovach as a vibrant and dynamic officer.
“Jennifer’s motto was to live, love and laugh,” he said. “Without fear [Jennifer] selfishly accepted the call for duty for the greater good.”
As the funeral service began Thursday morning, Kovach’s flag-draped casket was carried into the Sleeman Centre by eight members of Guelph’s police force and led by members of her family, including her parents Gloria and Bill.
After the singing of the national anthem, the crowd paused for a moment of silent tribute to the fallen police officer.
The service also included a performance by singer Rachel Guthrie of a song originally performed by Susan Boyle, ‘Who I was Born to Be’.
A video montage was shown too, depicting Kovach as a child, and as Guelph police officer. The touching video, played to a soundtrack of songs by Sarah McLachlan and The Band Perry, included pictures of the 26-year-old avid Guelph Humane Society supporter posing with animals, as well as photos of her friends and family.
As the service drew to a close, Kovach’s casket was carried out by members of the Guelph Police force with friends and family in tow.
A private hat and flag ceremony for family members was scheduled to take place after the public funeral ceremony.
Ahead of the funeral, a sombre procession was led through the streets of Guelph by a pipe band. Eight members of the city’s police chief honour guard accompanied Kovach’s casket as it made its way from the funeral home to the Sleeman Centre, with the sound of bells pealing in the air.
City workers observed two minutes of silence at 10:30 a.m. and Guelph bus drivers wore blue ribbons in honour of the fallen officer.
Kovach, 26, died Thursday after her marked police cruiser collided with a city bus while she was on her way to assist another officer with a difficult arrest.
She was the sole occupant of the cruiser.