Favela’s widow perseveres
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The widow of fallen Honolulu police Officer Steve Favela is dealing with grief by celebrating her late husband's life.
Favela died Nov. 26, five days after his motorcycle crashed while escorting President Bush's motorcade at Hickam Air Force Base.
Yesterday, Barbara Favela spoke to the Star-Bulletin about how she and her family are coping and about plans for a fun run and fair at Holomua Elementary School, an event that will become the annual Steve B. Favela 2K Family Run and Safety Fair.
Favela got the idea from another police widow during a memorial service for fallen police officers in Washington, D.C.
During the service, President Bush noticed "HI" and "Favela" on her eldest son's name tag and asked the boy, "Where's Barbara?"
"It was amazing that he remembered my name, because he's such a busy man," she said. Bush also called the Favelas during his fueling stopover two weeks ago.
When another officer in New Mexico died during a motorcade last month, Favela turned off the news and stopped reading the paper as reports continued to note Favela's death.
"It took me back to that day and I tried to be protective of the children," she said. "It was hard to see that happen to somebody else in such a short period of time."
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DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Barbara Favela is the widow of Honolulu Police Department Officer Steve Favela, who died Nov. 26, five days after his motorcycle crashed while escorting President Bush's motorcade at Hickam Air Force Base. She was with her children yesterday: Keahi, 8, Matthew, 4, Jacob, 1, and Kiana, 6. Favela is holding a fundraiser, the Steve B. Favela 2K Family Fun Run and Safety Fair, dedicated to her husband, with proceeds benefiting Holomua Elementary School and the Cole Academy.
Barbara Favela wasn't sure how she would deal with the one-year anniversary of her husband's death.
She asked herself how she would confront what might be an annual, recurring grief. Then she decided she to do something so that everyone can remember what made her husband special.
She's planning a fun run and fair at Holomua Elementary School in memory of Steve Favela, the police officer who died after his motorcycle crashed while escorting a presidential motorcade last year, and the man who wooed her as a nurse's aide with his Tom Cruise smile.
"Every aspect of Steve is in this event, and I want everyone to be aware of everything he was about," Favela said.
The event will feature health and fitness, police and public service, and a message of staying drug free, and it will also be fun.
The U.S. Coast Guard, in which Steve served, the police and fire departments, and comedian Frank De Lima will all be at the fair after the noncompetitive run. There also will be games, lottery prizes and booths.
It's part of the healing process for the 35-year-old widow.
Favela remembered the morning when her husband had gotten off work at 3 a.m. and reported back for duty two hours later to serve in the motorcade.
When she got the call about her husband's injury, the police sergeant's grave tone of voice began to confirm her fears.
"Without anyone saying anything, I already kind of knew," she said. "I was not in a good state. ... To say the least, I'm managing but it hasn't been easy."
It was also difficult coming to terms with the fact she had become a single mother of four.
"As hard as it gets, they're all healthy and happy and each one of them reminds me of my husband," she said. She has taken leave of her job as a nurse to raise her four children.
At their Ewa Beach home, the children bounced off furniture and ran around the home, giggling, throwing snacks on the floor and putting together jigsaw puzzles. Favela said the children have "come a long way" since their father's death.
Her own turning point came during a May trip to Washington, D.C. for a national memorial service for fallen police officers.
She said she found her strength in meeting other widows of fallen officers. Her children also met other children of fallen police officers.
"We can talk about Steve and smile now," Favela said. "It was like a life raft that somebody threw out and says, 'You know what? You guys are going to be OK.'"
One woman's husband, who was killed by a drunk driver, started holding bike races in honor of her husband.
Favela said she's never organized a community event before. She needs more donations, and she still feels nervous, because she doesn't know how the response will be.
"But it's keeping me busy, and I feel good about it," she said.
Family fun run and fair scheduled
The first annual Steve B. Favela 2K Family Run and Safety Fair will be held from 8 a.m. to noon Nov. 10 at Holomua Elementary School.
» The fair after the run will feature booths from police and fire officials, the U.S. Coast Guard, game booths, a raffle and free drinks and snacks. Comedian Frank De Lima will emcee the event.
» Entry fee is $15; $20 after Oct. 12.
» For more information or to donate to the event, contact Barbara Favela at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through her Web site at www.stevefavela.com. All proceeds from the event go toward Holomua Elementary School and the Cole Academy.