A Story: A NYC Coincidence

I’ve been having a very hard day today. I can feel what kind of day it will be when I first wake up. If my heart feels heavy (I wonder how that feeling even comes about), I will probably have a very, very sad day.

I woke up with my heart feeling heavy. An appointment I had got cancelled, so I kind of tried to bumble my way through my morning, heading to the coffee shop to do some reading. In the end, I just ended up sitting there, but I give myself points for effort. When I got home, I received a message from Bryan R. about something that JUST happened to him. He agreed to let me share with you all.

“How about this for a little coincidence: currently working in uniform and standing outside of a school.  Two teenage girls and their guardian approached me saying they are on a spiritual mission and are going around praying for people.  I asked where they are from. They answered Texas.  I asked if they heard of Euless, and they said they live in a town 30 minutes from there (I forgot which one specifically).  One teenager said we would like to pray with/for me because they saw me and thought of “the wonderful police officer who died a few months ago.”  One girl looked at my tattoo and asked to see it fully, and I raised my arm, and the other teen said, “Wait, that’s the name of the police officer?”  I gave a short summary of Dave’s adventure from here to Texas.  “We will pray for his family and police officers everywhere” were their parting words.”

Thank you, ladies. Your message has reached us.

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A Story: Cousin-Love

“I’m one of Dave’s cousins from Switzerland. Fortunately, our grandparents always put great effort into bringing together the entire family from around the globe. However, due to our busy schedules not everyone could always be at events at the same time. But, Dave came to visit our Grandmother for her 85th Birthday with Uncle Helmut and that was the last time I saw him. 

Grandma had organized a big lunch with the entire family and her closest friend. The day before my Grandma’s birthday lunch, my sister and I spend the day with Dave, Uncle Helmut and Grandma. It was the first time I really got to spend some quality time with him for as long as I can remember. Usually, the family gatherings were too big to be spending one-on-one quality time with anyone particular, so I never really got the chance to get to know Dave the way I would’ve liked to.

On that Saturday, we spent a great majority of the time in the car. Though I don’t remember the main reason we were driving around, I remember very clearly that part of our mission was a search for Fireball whiskey. Now, you have to know that we were somewhere in the Swiss suburbs, a village really, and it was Saturday afternoon (all stores are closed here at that time). Obviously, that didn’t really help with our search. While we were on a mission to find said whiskey, Dave was making hilarious jokes about my sister’s driving skills. I remember laughing so hard, I could barely breath. We made plans to visit him and Marta in Texas, and he spoke about the new house and about his plans for when he eventually retires. He retold the story of how he got the legendary tattoo and the reasons of why he moved to Texas. Finally, we found a gas station that sold alcohol. However, we could only find a small variety of Swiss whiskeys. He got a bottle and we made our way home to Grandma’s. We sat on the sofa, poured ourselves a glass and spoke for hours.  

After that day we all promised each other to stay in touch and we did. Though it was only on snapchat, it felt nice having a little insight into Dave’s day. He would send me snaps of funny faces, of him singing to some song and countless snaps of Mickey. After all these years I finally felt like we were bonding and was excited to start arranging a trip to visit him and the rest of the family in the US. 

The day before we got the terrible news, I saw Dave’s post in honor of a young police officer, who died in the line of duty on her first day of work. I remember seeing lots of these posts on Dave’s wall and every time I saw them, I was so glad that he decided to move away from NYC and start a new life in the relative safety of Euless. However, for some reason this post really moved me deeply and I thought about it for the rest of the day. The same night, I woke up in the middle of the night and for some strange reason decided to check my Facebook. It must have been around 3 or 4am and I was so confused. I kept seeing the words “RIP David Hofer” and I couldn’t understand what was going on. I thought Dave posted that about someone else with the same name or that this was some sick joke – I started believing everything but the most obvious reality. I called my sister and when she picked up, I knew what had happened. The moment of realization is indescribable and the pain I felt, for the family and his fiancee, is something that I cannot put into words. 

The following days are still a blur. I couldn’t find the right words for my family in the US, I didn’t know what to say, who to call, what to do. Quite frankly, I’m still having a hard time finding the right words. When I was asked to come to the memorial, I didn’t know if I should or not. Being so far away from the situation puts you in a state of denial and let’s you live in a little bubble, where you can pretend all that didn’t happen. But it did happen and I had to find a way of dealing with it and I knew, I had to be there for my family and myself to find closure on what had happen. I’m so glad that I decided to go. 

In the 48 hours that I was in NYC, I got to know Dave in a way I could’ve never imagined. The stories about him, the energy of the people who were close to him, every second of my stay filled me with so much gratitude and appreciation for my cousin. The stories made me cry in pain and laughter – he was truly one of a kind. I wish I could’ve known Dave better. I still don’t understand how such a beautiful and pure soul had to be taken away from us. 

My heart goes out to Meret, Marta, Sonja, Uncle Helmut, Boris and everyone who got the privilege to have their lives and hearts touched by Dave. 

I am so proud of you, Dave.”

~ Maggie H., Cousin

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A Note To You

The post entitled End of Watch was the final one I’d queued up for the ForHofer page. Of course, I absolutely encourage everyone to keep sending me anecdotes and pictures but I expect we will have fewer posts from here on out. I know a number of Dave’s closest friends have told me it’s too soon for them to write anything for the blog right now, and I completely understand that. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to see those stories in the future!

Collecting your stories, and writing some of my own, has been very important to me as I begun to make sense of this devastating new reality without my brother. It’s allowed me to glimpse some of the parts of Dave’s life that I may not have had access to, as close as we were. I hope you feel the same! It’s been so meaningful to read the letters from community members and the stories from friends and colleagues. I thank each of you for sending those to me and my family. They mean the world.

To make it easy to access the stories, I’m including links for all of them here in a kind of index (starting with the most recent). I will definitely be going back to them frequently and I hope you will to. I didn’t include the “In Memory” notes from the kids, but those can always be found easily.

MARCH 2017
A Story: Just Checking
A Thought: One Year Today

FEBRUARY 2017
A Story: Surprise
A Thought: The Euless Police Department Awards Banquet
A Thought: The Coming Days

DECEMBER 2016
A Thought: Christmas

NOVEMBER 2016
A Thought: 8 Months Gone

SEPTEMBER 2016
A Memory: On Maine Winters
A Thought: On Strength
On Your Birthday
Birthdays Without You

AUGUST 2016
A Memory: Maine Summers
A Memory: Summers in Spain
A Memory: The Best Deal Of My Life
A Memory: Bottles & Dinosaurs

JULY 2016
A Story: The Legend of Stonewall
A Thought: “Don’t fear us. Don’t hate us.”
To the Families of Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael J. Smith, Brent Thompson and Patrick Zamarripa
A Story: The Open Door

JUNE 2016
A Story: A NYC Coincidence
A Story: Cousin-Love
A Story: End Of Watch
A Story: First Meeting Onward
A Story: Pretty WoMAN
A Story: On Missing The Last Train Out
A Story: Making Moves
A Story: My Dear Friend Dave
A Story: A Smile
A Tribute: Official NYPD Memorial Run Pics
A Tribute: Three Months Gone (And A Slideshow)

MAY 2016
A Story: Omas And Opas
A Story: Selfies
A Story: Taking The Jump
A Tribute: A Lifetime of Light
A Story: Random Bits
A Story: Workouts, Fast Food & Zero-Calorie Beverages
A Tribute: The NYPD Memorial 5K
A Story: Jaeger
A Story: Muffin-Interrupted Gaming
A Story: Ba-Bow! [Strikes Pose]
A Story: On Cozying Up
A Story: On Avoiding Overtime
A Story: “Seriously, Bro, What Do You Do?”
A Thought: On Openness
A Thought: To Our Heroes
A Story: Making It Through The Rookie Years
A Story: Mickey’s Adoption Adventures
A Thought: On Funerals
A Story: No Drinks That Night
A Story: Walking Besides Us
A Thought: On Doing Better
A Story: A Merry Christmas

APRIL 2016
A Story: Line Of Duty Decorating Injuries
A Story: Bringing Fireball To The Big City
A Story: Political Discussions A La Hofer
A Tribute: On Valuing Bonds
Responses To “My Brother Was Killed Because He Wore A Uniform”
A Story: Bar Life & Paying It Forward
A Story: How To Save A Life, Part II
My Brother Was Killed Because He Wore A Uniform
A Story: #904
A Story: Chaos In The East Village
A Story: About Commitment
A Story: Stressed St. Michael
A Tribute: About Yankees & Hillbillies
A Story: Lobster Collaboration
A Story: A First Winter Getaway With The Hofers
A Tribute: A Letter
A Story: Welcome To Metropolitan Studies
A Story: A Night In Texas
A Story: On Tattoo Sleeves & Solidarity
A Tribute: From The Wife Of An Officer
A Story: On New Friendships & Squeezing Into Mustangs
A Tribute: At The Dollar Store
A Thought: Beauty & Sadness
A Story: Firsts
A Tribute: At The Car Wash
A Story: Too Fancy For A Rookie
A Story: Easiest $20 Ever
A Tribute: 9th Precinct Recognition Ceremony
A Tribute: Becoming A Superhero
A Story: You’re Done…Turn In Your Badge And Gun

MARCH 2016
A Story: A Hot Mess
A Story: How To Save A Life
A Tribute: Fort Worth Officer Down 5K
A Story: My Safety Net
A Story: You Are Euless Now!
A Story: Puppy-Love
A Tribute: Keeping On Keeping On
A Story: The Fireball Discovery
A Tribute: A Photo Story
A Story: Spotting Drugs & Eating Well
A Story: A Family’s Tragedy
A Story: Honor Guard Training
A Story: A Case of Mistaken Identity
A Thought: Changing Lives
A Story: Smoking Adventures
A Story: About Guns And Wheelchairs
A Story: Rules of Seniority & Mustaches
A Story: Mickey Takes Over
A Story: A Hobby in Common

A Story: End of Watch

“There was one day where I was sitting alone with Dave. He found this the perfect time  to question me about my worries in regards to making the move to Texas. “What’s your biggest fear about moving here?” I told him that in the NYPD Mike always had a partner and although Euless seems like a safe area, I just didn’t love the idea of him being alone. Dave instantly laughed. He said: “You think Mike will ever be alone? He’s MY partner, kiddddd! I always have his back. If that’s your biggest fear you’re fine. I’d die for him and that’s the truth.”

Fast forward a few months, Mike and Dave constantly reminded us of the movie End of Watch. “This movie is so completely like us” they’d say. Both Marta and I never laughed and said: “That’s not funny because one gets killed in the end.”

If you’ve never seen the End of Watch, I’d suggest keeping it that way. It is heartbreaking, but a true depiction of what police officers go through. In the movie, tragically, the officers were ambushed, leaving one officer to watch his partner get killed, which now more than ever hits home.

In the end, during David’s final moments, he was with Mike, Ed, and Mo and Dave did exactly what he had promised me he would do. He saved Mike’s life and there are no words to describe how thankful I am for what he did. He truly honored their brotherhood and will be honored as a hero forever in my eyes.

~ Stefanie O., Friend

In Memory: 06/13/16

Dear Police station. Thank you for all of the thing for help for making us be safe. thank you for teaching us safty rules at schools and doing traffic on schools thank you very much
Love, Gabby

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A Story: Pretty woMAN

“Throughout my life, David has been one of the most present friends I’ve ever had.  I’ve known him since middle school and he has consistently kept in touch and reached out to me to connect with him.

In middle school and high school, David was that friend with the awesome apartment that invited me over pretty much every other weekend.  We were a bit awkward together, but found solace bonding over Dragon Ball Z and playing video games.  He always sat me down to play games with him… where he pretty much wrecked me every time.  That set the tone of our friendship. We hung out in loud places such as bars with friends and one on one gaming together or just chatting at his place.  We stayed in touch, when I was in college.  Whenever I was back home, I always took time off to chill with David.  In Seattle, we kept in touch over Xbox Live and the occasional call.   And back in New York, I was always with Dave until he left to Texas.

After high school, I had my heart broken by a crush that broke up with me, which lasted a good time even into college.  David took it upon himself to get me back into dating.  His method was simple, get me as drunk as he could possibly get me, point to someone and push me into that person. Sometimes, he’d even tell that person some fake story about me!  I would awkwardly fumble through whatever situation he put me in. 

I always had a lot of fun hanging out with him.  He always pushed me. He’d tell me to just talk to people and get comfortable.  He even took it upon himself to get a friend to “pretty woman” me and clean me up for dating after he left for Texas!  He helped me break out of my comfort zone, and I appreciated it and was always down to hang with him and act stupid.”

~ Greg T., Friend

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A break from snowmobiling on Mooselookmeguntic Lake in Rangeley, Maine