From the Chaplain: In Memory of India 327

 

July 7, 2003

In Memory of India 327 

Early on Friday morning, October 25, 2002, we lost one of our own!  Senior Patrol Agent Catherine Mary Hill was killed in a vehicle accident while patrolling the international border.  As she was positioning her service vehicle on a bluff over looking Smuggler’s Canyon, she got too close to the edge and her Jeep fell down an embankment and rolled over, killing her instantly.  Cathy was just 37 years old.

On Wednesday, October 30th, 2002, Cathy was remembered in a public Funeral ceremony at the Spreckles Organ Pavilion in San Diego’s Balboa Park.  Hundreds of law enforcement officers from all over the country, friends, and family attended the service.  Members of Cathy’s Explorer Scout Post were all present as were fellow StandUp For Kids counselors and numerous homeless street kids.  The Border Patrol’s Horse Unit performed the traditional rider less horse ceremony and helicopters from the region’s law enforcement agencies flew the “missing person” formation flyover.  A particularly poignant moment in the ceremony was when the Border Patrol radio dispatch broadcasted Cathy’s call sign (India 327) over the IMB frequency.  There was a long silence and then the dispatcher announced “India 327 is 10-42” (which means “gone home”). Cathy was interned at El Camino Memorial Park in San Diego following a miles-long funeral procession of hundreds of police vehicles displaying their emergency lights.

The year 2002 was a rather tragic year for us in the Border Patrol, as we were the only law enforcement agency in San Diego County that lost members.  In fact, we lost two agents!  Both agents were killed in vehicle accidents.  First, Agent Roberto Duran was killed while on a detail in Arizona and then Cathy was killed.  At the end of the year, it was determined that Cathy was the only law enforcement officer killed in San Diego County in 2002 and the first female Border Patrol Agent ever killed in the region. 

Her death greatly impacted her family and those around her.  Cathy was an active volunteer with a local organization called “StandUp For Kids.”  StandUp For Kids is an outreach that attempts to assist run away or homeless children through many avenues.  It counts on the services and donations provided by volunteers, and Cathy was one of them!  According to statistics, thirteen homeless children die each day in the United States.  Josh, one of the homeless kids that Cathy worked with at StandUp For Kids said tearfully, “We expect to be burying our kids, not our counselors.”

Cathy’s twin sister Betsy who now also volunteers for StandUp For Kids has begun work to hold a fundraising event in Cathy’s honor.  Through these efforts,  Betsy has established the Catherine Hill Foundation in May of 2003.  Its purpose is to raise money and awareness for the StandUp For Kids organization.  As president of the foundation, Betsy has directed everyone’s efforts into the foundation’s first fund raising effort, the Blue Angel Gala that will be held on Friday, September 26, 2003 (Invitations to follow).  This event will directly benefit the San Diego chapter of StandUp For Kids where Cathy, and now Betsy, volunteer.

The Blue Angel Gala will feature Casino Gaming and have an “Old Hollywood” theme.  It will be held at the Sheraton Hotel on Harbor Island.  There will be fabulous food, great music, and silent auctions of some fantastic items.  Gaming tables will feature Blackjack, Caribbean Stud, Let-it-ride, roulette, and craps.

The foundation is seeking volunteers who wish to help out in this endeavor.  The foundation is also seeking donations of auction items to ensure the success of this worthwhile event.  Major corporate sponsors are also needed who will receive top billing in our advertisements.

Finally, we would like for the law enforcement community to unite and attend this event and help the foundation provide much needed funding for the San Diego Chapter of StandUp For Kids.  If you cannot attend, please feel free to send in your donation.  For further information about Cathy, the foundation, or the Blue Angel Gala, visit the Catherine Hill Foundation’s website at www.catherinehillfoundation.org.  Also please visit the StandUp For Kids website at www.standupforkids.org.

In a video about StandUp For Kids Cathy said,

“StandUp For Kids for me, it’s definitely about the kids.  It’s about imagining kids on the streets by themselves in the middle of the night, all the time.  I just can’t imagine what that must feel like.  It’s also about the future of America, because they are our future.”

I encourage all my fellow agents and employees of San Diego Sector to consider making a donation or join many of us who will attend the Blue Angel Gala.  You may even wish to follow Cathy and her sister Betsy’s footsteps and become a volunteer for StandUp For Kids.

If you would like to donate your time, effort, money or resources to this event, please contact me through my cell phone or home office listed below.

Thank You and God Bless!

Chaplain Brian T. Henderson
Union Chaplain-Local 1613
chaplain@nbpc1613.org
Cell:                (619) 250-1194          
Home Office: (619) 424-9858

 

 

 

 

Local 1613

San Diego