The wife of slain Const. Garrett Styles gave an emotional eulogy during her husband’s funeral service Tuesday, promising him he would always be part of her life.
“The greatest gift you ever gave me was our two beautiful children,” Melissa Styles said. “Thank you so much for making me a mother and giving me something to hold onto now that you are gone. They will be reminded every day how much you loved them.
The couple’s two children, 10-week-old son Nolan and 2½-year-old daughter Meredith, were cradled by family members throughout the ceremony.
Styles was killed June 28 during a routine traffic stop on Highway 48 near Herald Road in East Gwillimbury where he’d stopped a minivan just before 5 a.m. Authorities allege a 15-year-old boy behind the wheel suddenly accelerated, dragging Styles and pinning him under the vehicle.
The teen, who was seriously hurt in the incident, has been charged with first-degree murder and has a court appearance on Thursday.
“Right now, I am in pieces … I’m not sure how I’m going to live in a world without you, but I promise that I will find a way. I love you.”
She was surrounded by family and thousands of officers from across North America during the service at Ray Twinney Recreation Complex in Newmarket, Ont.
Premier Dalton McGuinty also spoke, addressing Styles’ family and the officers in attendance.
“On behalf of the people of Ontario I’m here today to tell you that we’re thinking of you, praying for you, and that we’re filled with sorrow for the loss you’ve suffered,” McGuinty said.
“Garrett Styles was a good officer at York region, a good husband to Melissa, a good father to Meredith and Nolan, a good man who served his community. He was a courageous and compassionate man who took action, who did the right things for the right reasons.”
The funeral followed a long and sombre procession of officers through the streets of Newmarket, many donning black armbands with Styles’ badge number, 1405, to pay their respects.
As many as 8,000 officers from dozens of detachments across Canada were expected, as well as others from the United States. Some 2,500 Toronto police were there, giving up their allotted seats to fellow York officers.
“We’re here to honour a fallen comrade but also to honour the York region police service,” Toronto police chief Bill Blair told CityNews.
“Every single one of the men and women who are standing out here in uniform today … they’ve all sworn an oath to serve their communities. We are reminded by the death of Const. Styles there’s sometimes a sacrifice that comes with that duty.
Thousands who couldn’t attend the ceremony took to social media websites to express their condolences and share in the grieving process.
CityNews.ca tracked the hashtag #RIP1405YRP on Twitter:
Styles was a seven-year veteran of the York force and leaves behind Melissa and their two young kids – two-year-old Meredith and an infant son Nolan.
The 32-year-old came from a policing family. His father, also an officer, retired in January. Melissa is an employee of the York force, but not an officer.
A trust fund has been set up for Styles’ family. Here’s how you can contribute:
Police Credit Union
18025 Yonge St.
Account number: 2000014 York Branch
Transit number: 63612
Cheques should be made payable to “In Trust for Melissa Styles” or “Melissa Styles In Trust.” Cheques can be mailed to the Newmarket Branch of the Police Credit Union as listed above. Deposits can be made directly at any branch of the Police Credit Union.
Click here for Police Credit Union locations.