I do something every year on this date to keep my husband’s memory alive, (A Hero Remembered Never Dies), although he left his mark on this world in a way, I don’t think he will ever be forgotten. He touched people’s lives in a profound way, including mine. He made me the woman I am today, without him being a part of my life for 23 years, my path may have turned out completely different. He changed me in such a way, that after he was killed I considered myself an Uncommon Widow. I knew his spirit was still alive from the times he came and spoke to me, and so to me, he really wasn’t gone, just alive in a different form and realm of existence. But, the way in which I grieved also taught me so much about surviving the darkest times of your life, and knowing during these times, we are never alone. Our angels are always here to bring us Unconditional Love, peace, comfort and guidance.
Everyone always projects onto others what grief should look like, how one should act, dress, do…BE. But for me, I never fit into anyone’s mold. Grief is as unique as the finger prints one has. And while others would expect a mourning widow in black for years to come, that’s not what Dan wanted. He didn’t want anyone to mourn his death, he wanted it to be celebrated!
In past years we attended cereromonies in Ohio where he was killed in the line of duty. We now live in Florida, and are unable to do that. So his Brothers and Sisters In Blue, always do something and send me a photo. This year, they sent me this photo of a beautiful wreath they placed at the site where he was killed. (2016)
Uniontown PD Memorial Wreath 2016
UPD has been there for our family through hell and back, and I love these officers as they are part of our family. 💖
Dan was a Captain for the Uniontown Police Department in Ohio. On the morning of 2-15-11 he was scheduled to direct traffic. As he stepped out into the road to begin this detail, and looked to his right to stop traffic a woman hit him. His injuries were extensive, and he died on the scene, but was revived when Hartville EMS arrived at the scene. That morning I was just getting ready to get our kids on the bus for school. At the time they were 6 and 8 years old. My phone rings and it’s Holli, the UPD dispatcher. She says, Tiff, I don’t want to worry you, but Capt. has been hit by a car. I could hear all of the chaos going on in the background and I knew it wasn’t good. I said, is he OK? She said, I don’t know, they’re working on him now, referring to Hartville EMS. She told me they were transporting him to the hospital, and the Chief would be at my house to pick us up and take us to the hospital. The ride was a long one even though Chief was speeding to get there. I was in shock, our whole life flashing before my eyes. We arrived at the hospital, and I still didn’t know the extent of his injuries. Come to find out later he was revived once again in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. The doctors worked on him for two more hours, before he died. His injuries just too extensive. Within a matter of three hours my life was turned upside down and inside out. He just kissed me goodbye and said I love you. And now, there was no more laters.
I wrote an article in 2013, The Day My Best Friend Turned Into My Guardian Angel, which you can read by clicking the below link.
In every tradgedy there are lessons to be learned through the pain. For me it was to live in the moment, and stop being a control freak planning my life out a year in advance. Be spontaneous and go with the flow. I do now. Be PRESENT in the here and now and see the magical blessings that unfold around me daily. I do now. Don’t take anyone for granted, you never know when it’s their time to go home. I don’t now. Show the people in your life how much they mean to you and you appreciate them. I do now. And when it’s time for someone to go home, there is NOTHING that will stop the sequence of events to lead that soul home. For they chose it before they got here, however that the soul is everlasting and ever present in the lives it was close to here on Earth.
I am not your typical woman, therefore I was and am not your typical widow. He began to make his presence known to me during my grieving period. One night I couldn’t sleep. I was home alone as my kids were visiting their grandparents for the weekend. I went and bought a 12 pack of beer, depressed, crying. I sat there at my kitchen table alone, drinking, crying and listening to music. Something compelled me to go to the cemetery which was literally around the corner from my house. It was the dead of winter, with seven inches or more of snow. I had on tennis shoes, a sweatshirt and jeans, no coat. I wasn’t planning on being there long. I got out of my truck and walked through the deep snow to get to his grave, crying and sobbing the whole way. When I reached it, I kneeled down looking at his picture on the grave, saying Damn it why did you leave me here to deal with this shit world on my own Dan?! WHY?! I NEED YOU!
Just then I hear an ever faint chime in the distance. I looked around to see where it was coming from. I thought someone may have had a wind chimyon their porch, but it wasn’t the sound of a typical wind chime, it was different. It was the same one I heard the morning my grandfather passed as a rush of wind blew through my hair. I knew it was him, and this time I knew it was Dan. I began shivering because it was only around 7 degrees and lower with the wind chill. My feet started to become numb standing in 7 inches of snow. Just then I felt a blanket of warm come all around me. I could no longer see my breathe in the air. I was warm, and stopped shivering. And then to my amazement all of the snow around his grave started to melt. I was standing on grass while being wrapped in a blanket of warmth. (His wings). He said, Tiff I am here. You are not alone. I’ve been with you every step of the way. I will always help guide you and give you comfort from here on out. You are not alone. I felt such a peace, an indescribable unconditional love that cannot be explained in Earthly terms. There’s nothing like that here. I stopped crying and I smiled knowing I am not alone. He IS with me. Since he’s made his presence known many times, and we’ve had many conversations. His soul is at peace, he is happy and he is free to assist many now and not just one at a time. He is an all powerful angel in the spirit realms with magnificent wings. His death in that manner was to attune his own past karmic debt and grant him this status now, he told me. I understood. I just knew. I’ve been at peace since knowing he’s here with us every single day. I’m not alone and neither are any of the people he was closest to. He told me he’s given them all signs that they would know would only be from him.
This year I wanted to have his friends and fellow officers take part in sharing their personal stories of Dan. So without further a due, let’s get to it.
This first story comes from Dan’s mom, Helen:
“Here is one for the books. The day Dan got his driver’s license he wrecked our 1980 Buick Wildcat. He was supposed to JUST pick up his friend Chucky and get right back to the house! Chucky talked him into picking up another friend. Every time Dan got into trouble, Chucky was some how involved. I can’t remember the drive to the hospital! I drove, Dan’s dad was too upset! Good news, Dan only had a few bruises, but they wanted to keep him because he bruised his spleen. Needless to say Dan did not drive our car again!! You know how men are about their vehicles! First day legal 😫! Cliff traded the Buick after we had it repaired! Chucky and Dan were like gasoline and fire!! Always into trouble!”
Our Daughter, Haley’s Story of Her Dad. (She was 8 when he died.)
HALEY’S STORY OF HER DADDY.
I remember when I just learned how to snap and he was sitting in the spare bedroom, and I ran in there as he was on the computer and I said, “Look daddy, I learned how to snap.” He said, “Really, let me hear!” So I snapped in his ear and it wasn’t really loud, but he was so proud of me anyway.
Another story is when I was little he gave me shoulder rides around the house and it was so much fun!
I also remember when he was pulling his car back into the garage and he ran over a frog.
Last he was shoveling snow in the backyard, and he made me a really big snow fort and I was playing in it. I miss and love him a lot. 🚓♥️ Haley 💗
Our Daughter Alyssa’s Story. (She was six when Dan died.)
I remember that everytime that it was nice outside that we would go and play kickball or frisbee and whenever it was his turn to kick it he would kick it just a little bit so me or Haley would have to run and go get it. 😂 And whenever we would play frisbee I would have to turn it all the way to my “special place”, well that’s what I thought anyways, and he would just stand there and laugh and smile. And then I would start to look at him and laugh! It was really fun then we would usually go inside to eat dinner.
It depended what time it was if we would go back outside or just do something else like play a game inside. He was the best daddy and we had so much fun! I love and miss him so much. 💖
Dan playing a game of Would You Rather with his daughters pictured above.
Alyssa wears her daddy’s shirts to bed and always has since the day he was killed when I gave them to my kids to be able to smell their dad when they missed him.
Heather- Dan’s Daughter From His First Marriage
There isn’t one story or memory I have of Dad that really sticks out on its own because there are just so many. But some of the ones that I re-visit the most are:
-How we always used to watch Star Trek: TNG on the big orange couch in Grandma’s family room while eating Totino’s pizza rolls when I was real little.
-Playing catch and him trying to fix the weird back/underhanded way I caught the ball (still do it to this day…I just can’t help it Dad! Lol)
-Going to play mini-golf every summer even though he’d end up losing half his body weight in sweat lol
-Omg…his “dad-isms” that I still hear in his voice, in my head ALL THE TIME:
~ “Did you get your drivers license out of a Cracker Jack box?!?”
~ Calling someone’s head a grape…”Ooooh he done got smacked right in the grape.”
~ After finding out that I text…”Do you, you know, conversate?”
-How he would get so animated when either quoting his favorite movies or describing a scene in a new one we just saw.
-And the thing I think about most, literally every. single. day…are his hugs. Dad gave the best hugs. Between him being so much bigger than me, I’m 28 and only 5’2 (on a good day lol), and the fact that he was so loving and lovable, they were just big ol’ bear hugs.
I miss him so much, and he may be gone physically but I know he’s watching over us all because I can still sense him sometimes…and I know he’ll never be forgotten.
I love you Daddy.
Dan’s Long Time Friend and Fellow Officer, Phil Taylor.
I remember coming over and playing video games and drinking beer. The best part was taking a break and going outside after turning on the dryer and smoking cigars by the dryer vent so that we could somewhat stay warm because it was the middle of winter!!!
I remember the first time we went to Florida for Roy Hobbs World Series. I walk out by the pool and there he sits with a bucket of baseballs, a tooth brush, and a bowl of soapy water and smoking a cigar. I ask what are you doing? He replies, ” we are at the World Series and we need to have clean balls to practice with”. Made complete sense to me so I sat down next to him and lit a cigarette, and we talked baseball for an hour or two!!!
My Response To That: Right Phil, you HAVE to have clean balls for practice!! I mean come on now! Lol 😀
Dan’s Co-Worker & Subordinate at UPD- Ed Beverage.
When I worked in Uniontown Dan would ALWAYS tell me “Ed, you need to start locking your cruiser when you come in.” Well, of course I didn’t listen. Working afternoon shift, Mike and I head into the station, well I had no idea that Dan had stopped in. When I came in, Dan went out another door to check and see if my car was locked (it wasn’t). Couple minutes later I head back out to leave and I am left panic stricken, my cruiser is GONE!!! I run back inside and there is Dan leaning on a desk, arms folded, and grinning at me. As soon as I seen him standing there I knew he had me. “Leave your car open again” he asks, “I sure did I”, I replied. “Bet ya won’t do that again” he said, “ABSOLUTELY not” I said. Dan said your car is out front and threw me the keys. All I could do was say thank you, lower my head and walk out.
That’s the kind of leader he was, he could have wrote me up for repeatedly breaking policy but instead taught me a lesson. I never left my cruiser open again, not just because it was policy, because of the fear that I never knew when Dan would “pop” up. He was a hell of guy and was a very important part of my Law Enforcement Career. Hope you’re resting easy my friend….SEMPER FI! – Ed Beverage.
Dan pictured in his Marine Corps days.
Dan’s Friend & Sgt at UPD- Mike Batchik
A week before the accident, Dan and I went to a supervisors class together in Richfield. Dan was sick as a dog and struggling during class, when all of the sudden the instructor shows a clip from a movie. It just so happened to be one of Dan’s favorite scenes from none other than Full Metal Jacket. Dan sat up in his chair and repeated each line word for word. Every time I see that movie Dan is the first person I think of, he knew every line. He definitely loved his movie quotes!
My Response To That: Oh Seriously! That and A Few Good Men, Lord help me. I’d seen it and heard it repeated line for line.. I don’t know, at leat 10,000 times to the point of, if we have to watch this movie again, you’re watching it alone. LOL! 😀 NOW I MISS IT! Do not ever take annoying shit for granted… lesson learned.
Dan’s Mom’s Response To That: Talk about Dan knowing the words to movies, he had to tell me what they were saying in Major Payne! Funniest movie especially after Dan told me what they were saying–how he knew???
Dan’s Good Friend, Del Clayman, who he started out his law enforcement career with Del as his training officer. He was also the Best Man in our wedding.
Dan, Iggy, Hockman and I were sitting around in the roll call room one night debating what the dumbest thing we could call each other could be.. That night the infamous “Fuck Chop” was born.. EVERYONE that was stupid was a Fuck Chop from that day forward..
My Response To That: And you know what Del? It still is to this day! Yes, I have kept this word alive. But now there is also “Fuck Tard” you can add to it. Lol
DEL: Second night I worked with him at MPD I told him there had been some vandalism in the cemetery. I told him the chief wanted him to spend a few hours on foot in there watching to see if they came back.. It wasn’t true.. I just wanted to see what he would do if I left him there. So I dropped him off and went to Dairy Mart, got some coffee, dicked around BSing, went to the station, BS with the dispatcher, etc.. I started to feel like an asshole leaving him up there.. So, about an hour later I went back to pick him up.. I said you see anything going on? He said, it’s pretty dead here.. I laughed! He said you know, I walked this entire place and I didn’t see any vandalism here.. This is just a test right.. I gave him the keys and said, you drive genius! I am shocked he didn’t end up hating me for that.. But man we just hit it off in the best way!! I trusted that guy with my life. Every call or traffic stop we had together you knew he was a pro! A top notch cop and future dynamic leader.. More to come!!
Dan’s Friend & Officer At UPD- Dan Allais
When Dan came to Uniontown PD our illustrious leadership put him on midnight shift. I was and still am stuck of afternoons and Dan came in and relieved me on nights.
As cops, we have the uncanny ability to mercifully screw with each other and laugh our asses off at each other! That’s just what we do! So, the dayshift dispatcher, Holli, who always brought in food, baked goods for all of us and one day she brought in some chips, cheese and a jar of salsa called “Death by Salsa” and this shit was hot! Well, I figured I would be a good buddy and make a plate of chips, salsa and freshly melted cheese for Dan when he came in. Dan comes in and we are all standing around shooting the shit and the microwave bell goes off and I brought out this plate of chips, salsa and cheese and set it on the filing cabinet and offered it up as a token of true friendship. This plate of “Hell Fire” looked like it could have been on a magazine cover of Martha Stewart! Dan looked at me….
knowing I was up to something…then he scanned the room and everyone had their shit eating grin on and we told him it was hot but a Marine of your caliber….hell, that wouldn’t phase you one bit. Dan was now “double dog dared” and grabbed up a handful and ate the chips and his eyes were shut….his face was getting red……his pointed little bald head was getting red…..he started sweating……now a couple tears welled up……..he chewed and swallowed the chips……opened his eyes, called me a mother fucker and kept eating!! We laughed our asses off. I sure miss him. – Dan Allais.
Dan pictured at Hartville PD helping a little boy sort his Halloween candy. Umm yes of course it needed sorted! Lol!/
Nate Weidman- Sgt. UPD
As I read all the stories I just sit here in a day dream. Memories before and memories after. One things for sure Dan will always live on.
I got a new truck and as we always try to park in a safe place Dan parked in the spot next to me. As he got out his belt got stuck on his door causing it to hit my truck. Haha. I had a little memory of dan on my passenger door. Kinda miss that dent now. – Nate Weidman.
Dottie Gobleck- My Best Friend of 30 Years.
Pulp Fiction was the movie that Dan and I quoted back and forth to each other…there is a piece in the movie about a Royale with cheese…so Dan would joke and say well look at the brain on Brett…when I would figure something out! Lol! Or just give me the old classic face palm and shake his head at me!
This photo taken the night of our Bachelor/Bachelorette party with the infamous face palm while Dan took a seat on Dottie’s husband’s lap. Lol
Lynn Rider- Her husband worked at the Hartville FD, at the time Dan at Hartville PD.
I love these stories ! What a blessing Tiff! I remember the RL Ermy and Jack Nicholson impressions, the way Dan would shake his head, and the million dollar smile, but most of all the way he made one feel after he left your presence. He made so many smile. – Lynn Rider-.
Jim Welch- Dan’s Good Friend & Fellow Officer
So many great stories and so many great memories… I’m pretty sure there were many midnight shifts where we performed the entire movie Pulp Fiction. We also solved all of the Tribe’s problems too but no one would ever listen to us up in Cleveland lol. I still think the hardest he and I both ever laughed was when Michelle pulled up after we stuffed Iggy with pizza and he thought he was going to get busted! lmao
This is always a tough time for me. There are a couple of cops that you work with in your career that you would follow into hell and know you’re not coming back and do it without question. Dan was that guy. A leader, a soldier, and most importantly, a friend. He wasn’t afraid to put a boot in your ass when you needed but he taught you how to overcome the mistake and that is key to true leadership. It’s hard to find those guys that you just connect with and know how they will think and react. Now I just try to think of the smiles and the laughs. We could always come up with something good to make fun of John Norman about! lol
The best part of being a friend with Dan, is that you knew the true man. While he was tough and a leader, he had a soft spot for his family. Hell, the best is being one fo the few to know that Tiffany scared the hell out of him LOL! There were a few times I had to order golf things for him from ebay because “he didn’t have an ebay account”, But we both knew it was cause he was scared to tell Tiff that he bought more golf equipment. LOL
DEL CAYMAN’S RESPONSE TO THAT: I agree Jim. You always knew where you stood with him. He was as real world as it gets. When my LEO career ended, I just knew he would be special. He has left a positive imprint on so many lives. Life sent us in very different directions and I deeply regret we missed so many years. I am glad we did reconnect. I should have done more, been a better friend before we lost him. I swear to god there are days that I question my leadership at work and I can hear him tell me to “Stand up, dust yourself off and try it again”.. Or, “Square yourself in the hatch”.. And I do, it always works..
Thank you so much for sharing all of your memories and stories. I love you guys and yes, I did scare the hell out of him because if I didn’t we would have had floor to ceiling baseball, golf and gun shit everywhere!! Lol He could have 6 brand new bats and want a new one. He loved his toys and sports and was the most fit and in shape guy I knew at his 46! He’d always say, you know Tiff I can run circles around these 20 somethings!! I said, you go you sexy beast! Lol I love him and miss him dearly, but I take solace in knowing his soul is everlasting and ever present visiting each one of us in our times of need. I know he’s given each one of you signs of his presence that you would recognize can only be from him. If you need him call. He’s still here walking the beat in the spirit realms. He loves you guys and so do I.
I just wish he didn’t die the day after Valentine’s Day, because that day will never be the same for me. Truly it just sucks ass!! And it used to be one of my favorites. One year he surprised me when I got home from work. He had candles lit, he made steaks and lobster and gave me flowers and the sweetest card for Valentine’s Day. It was not his typical thing to be all mushy and romantic, but at times he really went out of his way to show how much he loved me. For that I’m truly blessed. There was never one day we didn’t say I love you and never one night we went to bed angry. We had our ups and downs like every marriage, but we loved each other so much nothing ever came between us. The bond was that strong. He was the best husband, father, man, cop, everything.
Thank you all again for helping me create this blog post remembering Dan and the great man he was. You guys are awesome!!
Today, I am at peace knowing Dan is at peace walking the beat in the spirit realms protecting us and watching out for us. I’m so blessed to have him in my life for 23 years. This man made me the woman I am today.
I am ever so grateful and blessed he gave me the two of the most precious gifts of all, our two children.
Dan, you are forever and always in my heart. You will always be remembered, because you are unforgettable! You left your mark on this world in a way that made it better because you were in it. And through the memories you created with so may while you were here, you live on.
Love, Tiffany – an uncommon & not your typical widow.💖