INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Wednesday marked one year since the death of Indiana Conservation Officer Sgt. Ed Bollman, and an effort is underway to help send his family to Washington, D.C. for National Police Week.
Sgt. Bollman's 11-year-old son, Hunter, wore his dad's jacket and shared the same passion for the outdoors as he visited the Indiana Law Enforcement and Firefighter's Memorial wall. Sgt. Bollman's name is engraved there.
"I think it's really, really cool because not very many people's fathers have their name on a wall downtown in a capitol," Hunter said.
"A lot of pride, definitely some sadness, it's the one year anniversary today," his wife, Belinda Bollman said, as the family focused on their good memories. "Not only was he a great husband, he was a great father, a great friend and he loved his job, he was good at his job."
This spring, Sgt. Bollman's name will also be on the wall at the National Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial. He's expected to be honored during National Police Week in May in Washington, D.C. Sgt. Bollman, who served for 14 years, and a long-time friend died during an ice fishing accident in Madison County.
"He did go in the water after his friend who had went in with a heart attack and unfortunately both gentlemen lost their lives that day, so Ed did die a line of duty death and he did die a hero. And we are honored to have been his coworker," Indiana Conservation Officer Scott McDaniel said.
The week will consist of a candlelight vigil, a ceremony at the capitol where his name will be read aloud and seminars for families to attend. McDaniel said in total, six Indiana law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty are expected to be honored.
Line of duty deaths in Indiana included Boone County Sheriff's Deputy Jacob Pickett and Terre Haute Police Officer Rob Pitts, who died by gunfire. Fort Wayne Police Officer David Tinsely suffered a fatal heart attack after the pursuit of a suspect in a stolen car. Charlestown Police Sgt. Ben Bertram died in a vehicle crash during a pursuit. Allen County Sheriff's Sgt. Joseph Cox Jr. died of a heart attack while responding to a crash in 2017.
"So they will see that there are families and people out there just like them going through some of the same things that they are and it's a coping mechanism, and as well, these seminars are put on by people who have been there and dealt with this type of loss and have many years of experience, so that hopefully they can see that there perhaps will be light at the end of the tunnel that will help them find a new normal," McDaniel said.
A GoFundMe account is set up to help send Bollman's family there.
"I feel like this fundraiser is a good way for the community to recognize that Ed was a hero and the actions that he took that day and it’s a great way for them to support that," Dan Dulin, the president of the Indiana Conservation Officers FOP lodge, said.
Bollman's family said a golf outing is also scheduled for April 14 at Edgewood Golf Course in Anderson. Inquiries can be directed to Wrc1966@yahoo.com.
Meanwhile, his family is remembering the legacy he leaves behind.
"It's such an honor for him to even be asked to be there and for us to be asked to go along there as well just to know he was such a great person he loved his job and other people are recognizing that and he was such a great person and he was our hero always and to see other people recognize him as a hero," Belinda Bollman said.