Hundreds gather in Salisbury for funeral of Cpl. Glenn Hilliard

SALISBURY, Md. – Hundreds of members of law enforcement gathered in Salisbury Tuesday morning. They, family, friends, and members of the community showed out to lay Wicomico County Sheriff’s Deputy First Class Glenn Hilliard to rest, and say their final goodbyes. Hilliard promoted to corporal as part of the service

Brothers and Sisters

“I’ve been there in support of people. But, I’ve never been the one who needed to be supported. I’m proud of how all of the different agencies took care of my family throughout this,” said Cpl. Hilliard’s brother-in-law, Theophilus Hobbs IV. “This right here is amazing, and he would love it. My sister says it, and I know it for sure. He would love the way that he is being represented today.”

Law enforcement officers are often called men and women in blue. But, as they stood at attention on a clear, sunny Tuesday morning, they were brothers and sisters in arms. “Even when you don’t know someone else, if he’s in that same uniform, you know what they go through every day. You’ve had those experiences that they’ve had,” said Hobbs IV. “He was all about that. He loved his job. He loved his career, and that camaraderie was important to him.”

A Community Grieves

However, it wasn’t just law enforcement officers spanning the region filling the parking lot and auditorium of Emmanuel Wesleyan Church; Community members grappling with a tragic loss joined them in paying their respects. “I want to show my respect and support to the family. They’re having a difficult time now. This is a very tough situation, tough call. My heart and prayers go out to them, and I came here to show that,” said Dereke Bungy.

D’Shawn Doughty was another community member who made time for the funeral. “I owe it to him and his family to come out here, myself. Being a dedicated individual myself, I know that pride he took in our county, our state, and our city,” he said. “It takes us all coming together in a show of support, and showing that we can come together in these times. For us to move forward, we have to show our support. We showed it in numbers, and we showed it here today by being together in these tough times.”

“He is life. That man is life.”

Whether a sworn officer of law or not, everyone was there for the same reason: to remember Cpl. Hilliard for the man he was, and the person he inspired others to be. “He is life. That man is life,” said Hobbs IV. “Glenn is and was a human being. He acted and moved about his day just like every other human being. He ate and slept, put his pants on the same way I do each day. The only difference was that he had to go out and do a job that anybody in their right mind wouldn’t go out and do.”

Hobbs IV understands all too well the dedication to protecting the community as a retired Maryland State Trooper, himself. “He loved the community. He loved his family. He enjoyed his job. So, to have that opportunity was a pleasure for him. But, at the same time, for those who are suffering, or thinking about this and experiencing it with their own family, or sitting at home and wondering what it’s like – it’s painful,” he said.

Infectious Smile, Infinite Love

However, Hobbs IV tells 47 ABC it isn’t just Cpl. Hilliard’s passion for service that will be remembered; it’s the joy he brought to everyone he met. Hobbs IV says Cpl. Hilliard never met a stranger, and was always the first to do something – anything – to get someone smiling.

“We called him DJ Illi. DJ Illi would go out there and set up the music, and the kids aren’t dancing. He’s out there dancing by himself, or he’d grab my sister and they’d be out there dancing for an hour, just being a ball of sweat and embarrassing, because he dances in a way that would embarrass the kids,” said Hobbs IV. “We’d sit in church – he and I – he would run the sound booth and I was playing the drums. If anything funny happened in church, I’m looking at him and he’s trying not to laugh because there’s about to be a lot of laughs.”

Cpl. Hilliard, and his wife Tashica, were a match made in heaven, according to Hobbs IV. Together, they brought three children into the world. “The silliness, and the way they feel, the way they react to each other. They are so much alike, that you couldn’t have found somebody else to be with. This was the man for her. This was the absolute one,” said Hobbs IV. “It was just seeing him be the goofball that he is, whether he’s outside playing with the kids, or at birthday parties.”

Moving Forward

Now, the call is on the community to remember that when law enforcement officers suit up and head off to their shift, they need those who they serve to wrap their arms around them. Hobbs IV says following the loss of Delmar Police Corporal Keith Heacook just 14 months ago, that message is only stronger.

“Everyone who is a part of the community needs to understand their role in that, and what is being perpetuated in our society today. That’s the biggest thing I’m taking away from today, because we have lost two heroes in a very short period of time,” said Hobbs IV. “I just pray for the safety of our heroes, because each one of these men and women who are out here today are heroes. You don’t have to wait until you’re dead to be a hero. They are heroes today.”

Categories: Local News, Maryland