In late September of 1995, my friend CHP Officer Bruce T. Hinman was killed in the line of duty. He was helping a family whose car had broken down at the 101/170 Interchange near Universal Studios, when a drunk driver hit the disabled car, causing it spin around, knock Bruce to the ground, and trap him under the wheel of the car. After being kept on life support for a week, Bruce passed on. He left behind a wife, a nine year old son, and twin five year old boys.
To honor Bruce, I wrote, performed and produced a song called “The Badge of the CHP.” The proceeds of the song benefit the CAHP Widows and Orphans Fund, and is available on my Music page.
The following is an excerpt from my eulogy delivered at Bruce’s funeral, Oct. 6, 1995.
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and the sky come to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says, “There! She’s gone!” Gone from my sight, that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side, and she is just as able to bear her load of living weight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side say, “There! She’s gone!” there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout. “There she comes!” And that is dying. author unknown.
So even though Bruce is out of our sight let us somehow draw comfort that he has been welcomed by other family, friends and officers we have known and are no longer here with us. They are the richer for having him, and we are richer for having known him.
All these years later, Bruce is still missed greatly by his family and friends. And I’m honored to have performed “The Badge of the CHP” at many CHP functions, including ceremonies honoring other fallen CHP officers.