More than 70 police squad vehicles with lights and sirens drove through Waterloo on Friday.
These cars, from numerous law enforcement agencies including those in Monroe County, were participating in a drive-by birthday parade for 5-year-old twins Owen and Evelyn.
Those are the twins of fallen Illinois State Police Trooper Nick Hopkins, who was killed in the line of duty in August.
The twins’ grandfather, Waterloo Alderman Jim Hopkins, thanked everyone who participated in the parade, noting there were 76 vehicles and a police plane that flew overhead.
The law enforcement officers also pooled their own money to purchase two battery-powered four-wheel vehicles as the twins’ birthday presents. The toys have customized license plates bearing the twins’ names on them.
They dropped off those gifts after the parade.
“The smiles evident on Owen and Evelyn’s face was priceless and exactly what Nick’s law enforcement family wanted to accomplish on this day,” the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department shared on Facebook. “We will always be there for Nick’s family.”
The Hopkins family appreciated the event, according to Nick’s brother and Columbia Police Department Sgt. Zack Hopkins.
“We were happy to participate in an event to celebrate Evelyn and Owen’s birthday,” Zack said. “During these times it’s hard to celebrate, but the parade gave all of us an opportunity to see those great Hopkins smiles. They are fantastic kids and deserve so much more than a parade. Whitney asked for a few lights and sirens, but Evelyn and Owen are truly loved by so many and that was evident with all the family, friends and first responders.”