The widow of fallen Suffolk County police Sgt. Timothy J. Henck was left deeply moved Saturday following the dedication of the newly renovated Sayville Athletic Turf Field in his honor 22 years after his death.
“It’s an incredible feeling. We’re truly touched,” said Kathy Henck of Sayville, who described her husband as an avid sports fan who also loved photography, his community and helping others. “When we first saw the monument go up, we were just awe-struck.”
Jennifer Henck, who was 6 weeks old when her father died, joined her mother, family, friends, Suffolk police, Sayville school district officials and more than a hundred high school varsity football fans in paying their respects to him during the ceremony at the field on Green Avenue.
“The Suffolk County Police Department never forgets our fallen officers. . . . This is especially true for Sgt. Henck,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy Sini told the crowd. The field dedication, Sini said, “serves as a powerful reminder that no one in this community will ever forget him either.”
Henck, a Sayville native and eight-year Suffolk police veteran who was assigned to the Fifth Precinct in Patchogue, died in the line of duty in August 1995 days after he pursued a Bohemia burglary suspect who rammed his van into Henck’s patrol vehicle, sending it into an embankment near Exit 52 on the Long Island Expressway. He was 29, his family said.
The renovations — which include a new scoreboard emblazoned with Henck’s name, field lights and concession stands — cost roughly $2.5 million, funded by community-approved bond referendums, and took two years to finish, said John Belmonte, assistant superintendent for business at Sayville Public Schools.
Henck’s daughter, now 22 and a student at Brooklyn Law School, said she was hopeful that her father’s name on the scoreboard would inspire future generations of children in Sayville, or even visiting ones, to want to learn more about him.
“They might Google his name, they might want to find out more about him, and I really think that’s a really wonderful thing,” she said.