The Hawkins family was a fixture in their Woodstock, Ontario community.

At 41, Laurie Hawkins (nee Gignac) was a community services officer for the Oxford County Ontario Provincial Police and was one of the most familiar faces across the region. She was a petite powerhouse, known for her school visits during which she delivered straight talk to young students about everything from drugs to bullying. Her visits to senior’s residences were much anticipated, as were her stints at Camp Hope for “at-risk” youth each summer. After policing for 19 years, she had just been appointed chief media spokesperson.

She and husband Richard, 40, grew up in North Bay. He was known as a diehard hockey dad. Daughter Cassandra, who was 14, was an outgoing teen with plenty of friends but with strong attachment to home. Son Jordan, 12, delivered newspapers with the same spirit he endured his autism. He and Laurie shared a special, deep bond. With a few soft words and locking of eyes, it was Laurie who could calm and soothe her son like no one else could.

Ben and Donna Gignac of North Bay struggle with the horrible tragedy as any parents would. But they find some comfort in knowing Laurie, Richard, Cassie and Jordan’s passing will perhaps serve as a warning beacon for other families. In her own special way their daughter Laurie is teaching and protecting others still.