Mid-Michigan police departments, family and friends salute injured Midland officer

One officer still in the hospital after trying to stop Midland man from lighting himself on fire on Christmas Eve
Published: Dec. 30, 2020 at 11:22 PM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (12/30/2020) - A sight one Midland police officer, healing from serious burns, will never forget.

His fellow officers, friends, family and community came out in full force to honor him and his partner for putting their lives on the line.

The two officers were trying to stop a Midland man from lighting himself on fire on Christmas Eve when they got caught in the flames. Midland’s Police Officer of the Year, Tyler Hollingsworth, is suffering from third-degree burns after risking his life while trying to stop a Midland man from lighting himself on fire.

Hollingsworth was burned, along with fellow officer Chuck Brown.

“My initial thought was, like I said, shock. And then it was, how are my guys doing?” Sgt. Dan Keeler said.

Brown is home from the hospital, but Hollingsworth is still being treated at Hurley Medical Center in Flint. That’s where Keeler joined his Midland City Police Department family, saluting their own from afar on Wednesday night.

“I can’t think of being anywhere else other than showing him that we’re thinking about him,” Keeler said.

Police departments from all over Mid-Michigan showed up too, including officers from Saginaw, Davison Township and the Michigan State Police. Each was ready to surprise Hollingsworth from his window with bright lights and warm hearts.

“It means the world I’m sure to him. He is one of the most outgoing, amazing guys, selfless people, so it doesn’t surprise me that he has such a great turnout because he’s such a great person and everybody loves him,” Alyssa Westphal said.

Westphal, who is Hollingsworth’s girlfriend, was there alongside many other family members and friends.

Hollingsworth’s father, John, organized the show of support. He was up in the room and he filmed his son’s reaction from above.

He asked his son, “What do you think?” Hollingsworth responded, “There’s no putting it into words. Thank you everybody for coming out. Thanks for all this. This is indescribable. I appreciate every single one of you. Thank you.”

Westphal says Hollingsworth has had two surgeries so far and he is continuing to heal slowly each day.

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