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 Story: My Dear Friend Dave

Two Years ago, I got on a plane and took a vacation to visit my cousin Ed and his wife Michelle who had recently moved down to Dallas, Texas. In that short weekend I met a wonderful group of people. One in particular stood out to me. Dave.

On that trip to Texas, I had my first glass of moonshine, my first shot of fireball because there was no saying no to Dave. I learned that very quickly.

Having loved Texas so much I planned to go back in a few months during the summer to look at apartments and a potential job opportunity.

Again, I was lucky enough to spend two weeks down there with this special group of people. My cousin and his wife welcomed me in as did their friends.

I remember Dave for a good chunk of my two weeks there, telling me that I would be crazy not to move down here.

Eventually a couple of months later, I decided I would move down to Texas, try it out and just take a risk. After my big move, the first time I saw Dave his words were “I told you that you’d be back.” He was right.

After having lost my mother in 2013, I also lost some friendships, true friendships. I felt people didn’t know how to be around me, didn’t know what to say, and pitied me. This group of people in Texas just got me. Having had shared with them in different settings the story about my mom, they all just understood. They didn’t pity me, they didn’t look at me differently when they found out and they knew how to keep me smiling and busy.

A good amount of my time down there in Texas was spent with Dave and Marta. They welcomed me with open arms; they constantly included me and invited me to go out with them. I never felt uncomfortable or out of place or like I was third wheeling.

I always looked forward to getting a text from Dave. Some consisted of…

“Sangria. Our place. 4:00.”

“Village Burger Bar. Be there”

“Poolside Sunday fun day. Meet us at the pool”

I also always looked forward to going to Ed and Michelle’s after work. At the time I did not have a washer and dryer so I did wash at Ed and Michelle’s every Thursday. Just about every Thursday I walked in to the house to find Ed and Dave just hanging out. Just about every time they were drunk, half naked, or poolside, fireside, and passing out on the couch.

My favorite story had to be when I arrived at Ed’s house around 5:30. I can see them sitting by the fire-pit as I walked through the door. I walked in and was welcomed by Ed with a “What’s uppp Teacherrrr?” and from Dave with a “What’s up kiddddddddd? Want some fireball?”

We got on the topic of the word “BAE”. A new word everyone was using to refer to their significant other. Ed and Dave having never head of that term asked me what it meant. I first asked them to guess. You can only imagine the guesses that came out of their drunken mouths.

“balls, and ass eater” is just one example.

I eventually told them it meant “before anyone/thing else”

They found this comical and extremely stupid. They  started asking each other if they wanted to be their BAE’s. The next five minutes consisted of Ed and Dave looking all googly-eyed at each other, sticking their tongues out, licking their cups and being weird. Telling each other how much they loved each other. This was nothing new to me, I always enjoyed watching this and decided to film it. It is a video I watch back frequently.

Then….

Drunk Ed asked Drunk Dave to make him a glass of scotch. There happened to be just a little bit of scotch left. Dave did as he was asked and brought drunk Ed his drink. Drunk Ed was NOT happy. Drunk Ed was insistent that drunk Dave spiked the glass with fireball. As an eye witness, drunk Dave did not spike the drink. Drunk Ed went to make a new drink only to find that there was NO MORE SCOTCH! Drunk Ed went on a rant and Ed was not having this. Dave felt bad and said he would go to Total Wine to get him a new bottle.

There was no way drunk Dave was driving to his favorite spot so I offered to take him. He refused to go in my “toy car” as he called it so he allowed me to drive his car.

“Woah slowdown”

“Watch out”

“Goooo”

“Be careful with my car”

“Watch the bump”

“Go faster”

“You’re driving on the floor lights, don’t you hear it?”

Let’s just say I never drove Dave’s car again……..

Because drunk Ed and drunk Dave weren’t drunk enough, Dave bought a bottle of fireball and a giant bottle of scotch to make up for drunk Ed accusing him of spiking his drink.

This ordeal of drunken stupidness continued as more friends started to show up. The boys had planned on going to “the spot” at the Shops at Legacy. They told me I should come and have a drink with all them. I was in my sweats and had no desire to be at a bar. So I offered to drop them off. As they all got out of the car Dave and Ed looked and me and Dave said , “You better go home, change and come meet us.”

As I was driving home I decided I would go home, change, and meet them, as per Dave’s request. We’ll just say it was an interesting night of watching drunken 30 year olds at the bar.

There are countless days and nights that I was able to spend with Dave. Some comical like the story above and some just low key nights. Dave always welcomed me to their apartment, always included me when his friends came to town for the weekend. He tried to set me up with a number of his friends because all he truly wanted was for people to be happy. He looked out for me like a little sister. Most importantly he always kept me laughing hysterically and smiling when I was hurting inside.

Dave was a good guy. He was genuine, selfless, beautiful, funny, kind, generous, happy, intelligent, silly and a friend. There aren’t many people I called a friend after the passing of my mom. But to me, even in just the two and a half years I knew Dave, he was a good friend.

My time in Texas came to an end, I was missing my family in New York and decided to move back and just take it a year at a time. When I told Dave and Marta, they were sad. I spent a lot of time with them before I left. We spent a day balcony and pool hopping, drinking Sangria and just laughing. A lot of the conversation consisted of Dave saying , “You are crazy to move back.” “You are going to go home, be miserable and come back. Just wait, you’ll see.” “Don’t leave, don’t go back to New York.”

My Dear Friend Dave,

You are a beautiful human.

I thank you for your friendship.

I thank you for being you.

I thank you for the laughter.

I thank you for the memories.

I thank you for looking out for me.

I thank you for your service, for your ultimate sacrifice. You are my hero.

When I close my eyes I can summon back your smile and laughter in my mind.

You will live on in my heart.

~ Allissa P., Friend

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A Tribute: The NYPD Memorial 5K

Yesterday, my parents and I and over 2500 others participated in the NYPD Memorial Run to honor the legacy of of the 882 NYPD officers who have fallen in the line of duty. 882 souls who have given their lives to protect those of the citizens of NYC.

It was a very moving experience. Beginning with an invocation by an NYPD chaplain, that was both poignant and humorous (delivered with a great New York accent!), the singing of the national anthem by a female officer, and the mournful playing of the bagpipes during a moment of silence for our fallen heroes.

Most striking to me was seeing all the personalized race bibs, many with names of the recently fallen, and many more graced with names of officers whose legacy endures even though they have left us long time past. “My brother” is what my bib said. Others wore bibs that marked their own relationship to an officer: my son, my husband, my partner, my father, my cousin, my friend, my hero, … The list goes on. Let us honor those who have left us, but let us also remember those who are left behind, for enduring their unthinkable loss. The officers, the families, the friends and supporters all deserve our deepest gratitude.

I also want to mention that we understand that Dave is not an “official” fallen NYPD officer as he had retired and joined another department. Yet, there were close to 100 people there to honor him. Thank you to each one of you. There are so many people who are making a tremendous effort to make sure his sacrifice is honored in NYC as well. I want to take this opportunity to thank Bryan R. who has been at the forefront of these efforts. Thank you, Bryan, for all you’ve done and all you continue to do for Dave. And, thank you, to everyone who is helping with this in the background. We may not know each of you, but know that we’re grateful.

A Story: The Fireball Discovery

“My first trip to Maine was in winter 2012. I arrived a day or two after Mo and Dave. After what seemed like an eternity, I finally reached the house.  When I entered, I was given this unknown magical elixir of which I had never seen nor heard of before. This magical potion was none other than Fireball Whisky. At this time, it still wasn’t very popular and none of us had ever heard of it before and the only place we knew of that sold it was the IGA in Rangeley, Maine. Needless to say we wound up drinking what was left of that bottle and much to our dismay had no more. The next morning and every day after we took the roughly 25 minute drive to the grocery store to clean out their supply of Fireball. It was so bad that we actually had to wait for the delivery to come in one day. The entire supply of Fireball in Rangeley was consumed by the six of us staying at the house that week.”

~ Tim H., NYPD

A Story: Smoking Adventures

At the end of 2014, after almost a year in Texas, Dave became obsessed with the idea of getting our dad a meat smoker. Never mind that dad had never shown any indication that he wanted to start smoking anything. He ended up getting him a 30 gallon pit barrel cooker. It took our dad MONTHS to unpack the thing, set it up and actually do anything with it (and this only after Dave came for a visit to NJ and showed him hours of videos for inspiration). If you know anything about our dad it’s that he can’t resist good food/drink. The first smoking experiment involved a few racks of ribs, which they undoubtedly taste-tested more of during the smoking process than we actually ended up with for dinner.

In the months since then, our dad, David, and I had an ongoing group text (and of course the messages usually arrived at inappropriate times, like during talks and lectures) where they would send each other pictures of what they’d made in the smoker — smoked steaks, smoked chickens, and tons of ribs — with elaborate descriptions of marinades and sauces.

One of  Dave’s sauces involved the combination of chipotle bbq sauce, sriracha, and fireball. In Dave’s words: “Really Good!”

While I may have some doubts about that combo, I think we all know it’s not surprising that Dave would love a sauce with Fireball in it.

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Taste-testing with Pretzel.

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