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Suicide Victim's Girlfriend Thanks Lyon County Sheriff

Fernley Nevada, August 26, 2009
submitted by Dawn Heslip


Sheriff J. Allen Veil
Yerington ,NV 89429

Dear Allen:

I am writing this letter in regards to the actions of your staff relating to the events that occurred on August 5, 2009 when the love of my life, Kevin Schumacher, took his own life. The members of the sheriffs department I want to thank personally are Jimmie Reed, Alfonso Lopez, Connor Macpherson and, most notably, Detective Pete Spinuzzi. Even during that very difficult time, and although they maintained the utmost professionalism, they were also incredibly kind, understanding, sensitive and supportive to me during that initial shock and grief. They went through the motions of "investigating" me, as they should in a circumstance such as this, but as I was falling apart and felt like I was losing my mind, they still managed to keep me grounded and helped me maintain a level of sanity to get beyond that night. If it hadn't been for Pete, I don't know where I would be today.

So often, as of late, I hear stories about the "bad" behavior of the sheriff's deputies and I think, ultimately, they get a "bad" wrap. I had never understood why a man would lay his life on the line for his community to make $20? an hour, and still make themselves subject to such negative scrutiny. As you may know, Kevin was the Animal Control Officer for the City of Fernley. It seemed like such an easy job considering the pay he was receiving. Until, one day, very recently when a dog owner threatened him. It was so upsetting to know that he was just "doing his job" to earn a living to support us and our future, while there were people wishing horrible and violent things upon him. All I wanted was for him to be safe. Then this happens to our family, this horrible and wicked night of hell, sadness, grief and loss.

Although my heart still aches every day when I wake, and each evening that I come home to OUR home, where so much love, laughter, tears and strength was shared and cherished, I grieve over and over again, until I must fall asleep to nightmares and sadness. I still remember the goodness that has come from those around me that have been kind, caring and compassionate. And there have been great acts of kindness from those I have known for many years and others I have not. Neighbors that I have never met have dropped off cards of condolence at our home, stopped me in the street to pray with me, offered so much that I could never take advantage of regardless of my financial difficulties as Kevins ex-family members continue to take from our finances, hopes and dreams and, most importantly, his honor as a man' and, although there are those that would be hateful and disrespectful as to the circumstances of his passing and continue to dishonor this Navy man of 20 years after the fact, the proof of a greatness of a community keeps proving itself on a daily, and almost hourly, basis. Kevin's death, although violent and disheartening, has brought about the better of so many in this community it would make him proud.

Along the lines of his job, I must also mention that each time Kevin had to call for the sheriffs deputies' office for assistance on the matters he handled for the city, he had always expressed an appreciation and unswerving gratitude for their help and professionalism. You, ALSO, have much to be proud of.

So I end with this-

You can know, today, that the men and women that serve under you, that represent the Lyon County Sheriffs Department and that put their lives on the line, daily, have so much to be proud of in their service to one simple, distraught, grieving family. I can never share the depth of my most heartfelt appreciation to you all!

With our deepest respect and gratitude,

K. Dawn Sheriff-Heslip- a lover, friend and wife-to-be
Shawna Lisa Sheriff- daughter
Thomas Rex Heslip- son
Joshua WJ Heslip- son
and Matthew James Sheriff, our beloved grandson

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