Nfld. & Labrador

Woman saved from domestic violence by Cpl. Trevor O'Keefe helps raise thousands in his memory

Fourteen years after Trevor O'Keefe helped her escape domestic violence, Donna Hancock organized a walk for the officer who died last month.

More than $8,000 raised in support of Canadian Mental Health Association

Family members of RCMP Cpl. Trevor O'Keefe were in Clarenville on Wednesday for a walk to raise money for the Canadian Mental Health Association. (Stephanie Marsden)

Fourteen years after RCMP Cpl. Trevor O'Keefe helped her escape domestic violence with her three children, Donna Hancock wanted to help his family.

On Wednesday, hundreds of people assembled in the streets in Clarenville to walk for the beloved officer, who took his own life Sept. 11.

Together, they raised $8,326 for the Canadian Mental Health Association.

"Trevor helped me out over a decade ago when I had a very difficult time in my life," Hancock told CBC's St. John's Morning Show. "I left a very abusive relationship with three small kids. Walking back and forth to work, he always checked in on me."

The walkers were led by a police car, fire truck and ambulance. Several police officers took part in the walk, including coworkers of O'Keefe.

Members of the O'Keefe family — including his parents, Pierre and Biddy, and children, Liam and Melissa — were in attendance.

'He was a person, too'

Hancock cried throughout the interview as she spoke of the impact O'Keefe had on her life.

A large crowd turned out in Clarenville to walk in the memory of Cpl. Trevor O'Keefe, who took his life on Sept. 11 after a battle with post traumatic stress disorder. (Stephanie Marsden)

To him, she wasn't just a victim of domestic abuse — a file on his desk.

"To Trevor, I was more than a case number," Hancock said. "I was a person. Now I want to show the public that he was a person, too."

O'Keefe took his own life last month after a lengthy battle with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In the weeks since his death, other officers suffering from PTSD have spoken up about the battle they endure outside of work hours.

His death came two weeks shy of his 49th birthday, leaving behind his parents, two children and fiancée.

Hancock remembered him as a man who smiled constantly, and brightened her day every time she spoke with him.

The walk for Cpl. Trevor O'Keefe raised more than $8,000 for the Canadian Mental Health Association. (Stephanie Marsden)

O'Keefe saw her struggles and always stretched out a helping hand. One year for Christmas, he gave her gift cards to help her celebrate the holidays with her children.

Through planning the walk for O'Keefe, she's met several people whose lives were touched by the officer.

"He treated this town good," she said through tears. "No one could ever imagine what that man carried."