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Widow Speaks About Husband, OKC Police Recruit Killed In Training

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Elke Meeus Chase has dealt with a year full of grief and challenges since his passing. But she's finally ready to speak out about her husband, who she actually met while sky diving. Elke Meeus Chase has dealt with a year full of grief and challenges since his passing. But she's finally ready to speak out about her husband, who she actually met while sky diving.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

This week marks the one-year anniversary of the death of Oklahoma City police recruit Kelley Chase, who died during a routine training exercise while attending the police academy. His widow has never spoken publicly - until now.

Elke Meeus Chase has dealt with a year full of grief and challenges since his passing. But she's finally ready to speak out about her husband, who she actually met while sky diving.

"Kelley and I just loved jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, just because the door was open," laughed Elke Meeus Chase. "Parachutes are perfectly safe. We had two on our backs."

She can still laugh at all the happy memories she shared with high flying husband. The two shared a passion for skydiving, and met in Belgium when Kelley was stationed with the Air Force overseas.

10/13/2012 Related Story: OKC Police Recruit Dies From Injury Sustained At Training Academy

Kelley and Elke moved to Oklahoma in 2009 when he got stationed here with the military. She says the two fell in love with it.

"The people are fantastic, they are wonderful caring loving people," said Chase.

And Elke says she really discovered that after Kelley died. That is why she and the children have stayed here, despite the fact that her family still lives in Belgium.

"They've shown us so much love and caring, I wouldn't dream of moving away at this point in time," said Chase.

10/14/2012 Related Story: Authorities Identify OKC Police Recruit Who Died At Training Academy

 

Elke says Kelley loved serving his country, and was looking forward to serving his city as a police officer.

But Elke says what he loved most of all was being a family man. And this past year without him has not been easy.

"It's been rough," cried Chase. "It's been very rough we're coping as best we can."

She says the kids are having the hardest time dealing with their dad's death.

"Especially Kyle, he was three when it happened and he's terrified of losing me now," said Chase. "That's his worry, he doesn't understand you can lose a parent. He keeps telling me daddy left too soon and he's been having nightmares every night since Kelley died."

Elke says she tries to make life as normal as she can for two kids. She has created a scrapbook, so that their children will always know how involved he really was. She just feels blessed that a piece of Kelley will live on forever in their children.

10/15/2013 Related Story: OKCPD Mourns Loss Of Police Recruit Who Died During Training

Chase says her husband served 15 years in the Air Force and loved being a mission crew commander on AWACS. Then last year he had decided to become a police officer and got accepted into the Oklahoma City Police academy. He was halfway through, and was doing a routine training exercise with an instructor at the training center when his head hit the mat. He later died at the hospital.

"Many people asked him ‘Why on earth would you want to join the police department?'" remembered Chase. "'You have a degree in business management and you can do so many things.' And Kelley's reply was ‘I want to keep serving.'"

Elke is also pleased the Oklahoma City police academy is requiring recruits to wear headgear during training. She just wishes it had happened sooner. She says she'll never forget what the police academy teachers told the spouses when their husbands and wives were going through training.

"We're rough on your spouses, because it's rough outside on the streets," said Chase, remembering the speech. "We are training them in a safe environment here. They will die on the streets, but they won't die here at the academy. And well, we have proven how wrong that can be. And I just feel that basic safety could have prevented this tragic event because a helmet could have saved his life."

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