This month’s recipient of the Mercer Savings Bank Giving Mission donation is the Deputy Mark Heinl Foundation, which supports the education and training of new police officers in our communities.
Mark Heinl lived a life of service in Mercer County. Known locally as a kind and caring father of four, his interest in law enforcement began in his teenage years, when he became an Explorer with the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, a Boy Scouts of America-affiliated program. Over the years he served in various police departments and sheriff’s offices, and was also a volunteer firefighter and EMS.
Even after “retiring” in 2016, Heinl continued to spend his life in service to others. He worked as a patrolman for St. Henry Police Department and a deputy for the Darke County Sheriff’s Office. He also leveraged his knowledge of Mercer County roads to drive a school bus for the Coldwater, Marion Local, and St. Henry schools.
Heinl’s daughter, Ashlee Heinl-Botkin, acknowledges that her family has a long history of giving back to the community and the country. “My mom’s dad was actually a deputy,” says Heinl-Botkin. “We come from a really strong line of military service. Both of our grandfathers were in the military, and I think that’s where it started. My dad became a police officer and then both my brothers were in the military and then went into the police force. I think we just have a strong-rooted sense of ‘you help people.’ We all volunteer in any way we can. That is the core of who we are .”
When Mark Heinl died in November 2020 at the age of 60, his four adult children sought a way to honor their father and make the most of donations made in his memory.
“We set our goals pretty high from the get-go,” says Heinl-Botkin. “We decided that opposed to just another scholarship – which is fantastic – but, we wanted to aim higher. We wanted to put someone through the Police Academy in honor of dad. He spent his life giving back to the community and being a police officer meant the world to him. No matter whether he was on duty or off, he was always a police officer.”
In an article with The Daily Standard, Heinl’s children share anecdotes of his father’s many positive engagements with the community. While out shopping, former prisoners would embrace their father and thank him for how well he had treated them. While out eating, other diners would greet him enthusiastically and positively. His warm and positive nature was infectious.
“What we really want to come out of all this,” says Heinl-Botkin, “is a focus on good police. (My father’s) heart was so kind that we just want to make sure that his legacy continues to be remembered for that. That’s our goal.”
Support the Deputy Mark Heinl Foundation
The best way to support the Deputy Mark Heinl Foundation is through direct donations. Donations are all tax-deductible. Donations can be made online via The Civic Foundation, or checks can be made out to The Civic Foundation in care of Mark Heinl. Additionally, those interested in donating money or raffle items for future fundraising efforts can contact Ashlee Heinl-Botkin at email@example.com.