WATERLOO, Ill. - The support for the family of fallen Illinois State Trooper Nick Hopkins continues to grow in several ways. Some community members in Waterloo, the town where Hopkins grew up, are turning on blue lights at night to show their support.
Ashley Hewitt is a friend of the family. She bought 1,000 blue light bulbs and was selling them Thursday, along with t-shirts that pay tribute to Hopkins. She said all the money collected will go directly to the family.
“I just really wanted to do something to help them out and this has turned into something so much bigger than I ever could have imagined,” Hewitt said.
Whitney Hopkins, Trooper Hopkins' widow, was at the Waterloo firehouse Thursday where the t-shirts were being distributed. Several community members stopped to give Whitney a hug.
“I hope that the family feels the love and the support from the surrounding area and knows that we’re just not here today, but we’re here in the future for whatever they need,” said Columbia resident Lori McClanahan.
Papa Vito’s Pizza in Waterloo and Stinger’s in Cahokia donated food. Dollar General donated several cases of water for volunteers helping to distribute the shirts. Anyone interested in placing an order should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Collin Caywood is helping coordinate orders.
“I’ve actually received orders from as New York state, Florida, Arizona, Washington state. I mean, it’s just amazing how far this has gone out and how many people are showing support for the family,” he said.
Caywood said Hopkins was someone who always helped anyone. He believes that’s one reason so many people are now willing to offer their help to his family.
Donations can be made to the Hopkins family by visiting the Illinois State Police Heritage Foundation website at www.isphf.org/donations, or via U.S. mail to Illinois State Police Heritage Foundation, P.O. Box 8168, Springfield, Illinois 62791. On the website, note in the comments section, “Trooper Nick Hopkins Memorial Fund.”
Donations to BackStoppers may be made online at https://backstoppers.org/donate or by check mailed to The BackStoppers, PO Box 795168, St. Louis, MO 63179-0700. The BackStoppers supports the Hopkins family and families of fallen heroes by paying off all debt, providing health and dental insurance, reimbursing for out-of-pocket medical expenses, assisting with tuition and educational costs from daycare through university, and assisting with miscellaneous extraordinary expenses.