KINGSVILLE, Texas — Last November, Kingsville Police Officer Sherman Benys was shot and killed in the line of duty.
“He would’ve retired April of 2021, but he chose to stay,” Vicki Benys, his widow, said. “He felt that the Kingsville Police Department, that’s where he needed to be, he wanted to be there. So, he actually stayed, and then this happened that November.”
Vicki Benys pinned the badge on her husband’s chest in 1998, when he graduated from the police academy.
“Through the years, he became the one who was most well-known [in the community], because he was the one who was protecting them,” she said. “He was here for so long, so he became very well-known. So, it hit the community really hard when this happened.”
In the months following her husband’s death, Vicki Benys spoke with KPD chief Ricardo Torres, asking how she could give back to the local law enforcement community.
“I asked the chief a couple of times what he would’ve suggested, something we could give back in order to help and support our police officers, who risk their lives every day to keep us safe,” she said. “I mean, you never know what that next call is going to be, and they, not only have been supportive to us, but you have to continue to do your job.”
She said her family has received a lot of support in the last year.
“[Tuesday] was actually when he got shot, a year ago, and everybody had a tough day, we were all just reaching out, trying to comfort each other, because it was tough,” she said.
The decision Vicki Benys and her family came up with was to start a non-profit in her late husband’s honor. This week, 81’s Heroes will launch, the 81 comes from Beys’ badge number, the heroes are those he served alongside.
“It wasn’t easy, but we got through it, and that, just being busy, doing this, it’s helped us heal, try to heal, we’re in the process of healing,” Vicki Benys said.
81’s Heroes will provide assistance for equipment, training, counseling, and other immediate hardships to first responders.
Vicki Benys said starting the non-profit has helped her through the grieving process.
“I know every time I get that lump in my throat, where it feels like it’s going to choke me, I just think what do I need to do in order to get ready,” she said.
On Friday, the Coastal Bend Blood Center will be at the Kingsville Police Department for a blood drive in honor of Sherman Benys.
Saturday, the inaugural “Golfing for our Heroes” golf tournament will be held at L. E. Ramey Golf Course in Kingsville. The tournament is a 2-person scramble, with a $75 entry fee per person, hole sponsorships are available for $200. Contact Ben Benys at 361-522-4158 or at 81sHeroes@gmail.com for registration or sponsorship details.
Annual memberships for 81’s Heroes are available for $81/month. A lifetime membership is available for $810. Members will receive an annual decal to show support for the non-profits, and founding members will receive a commemorative challenge coin. Memberships and one-time donations can be made on the 81’s Heroes website.