In honor of Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal, who was fatally shot in the line of duty last week, United Sikhs delivered checks for $600,000 to the wife and father of the fallen hero during the post-funeral cremation ceremony late Wednesday evening at the Sikh National Center — the gurdwara Deputy Dhaliwal religiously attended.
Deputy Dhaliwal served as the Director of Homeland Security for the United Nations-affiliated nonprofit and assisted in global disaster relief missions and advocacy efforts for religious exemptions, including turbans and unshorn hair in law enforcement and the military.
“You are my Sandeep,” Deputy Dhaliwal’s Father, Pyara Dhaliwal, told Gurvinder Singh, United Sikhs Director of International Sikh Aid Programs, as the pair exchanged a heartwarming embrace upon delivering the funds.
Immediately following the tragic death of Deputy Dhaliwal, United Sikhs established a fund for the family on Facebook and GoFundMe to allow the public to show their support for the fallen hero. Within hours, contributions from supporters around the world began pouring in.
“Sandeep truly lived a life worth living,” said Gurvinder Singh. “We will ensure his humanitarian legacy lives on forever.”
Commissioner Adrian Garcia, who attended the cremation ceremony, delivered the checks with United Sikhs and announced the global charity’s launch of The Deputy Dhaliwal HERO Fund (Honoring Emergency Response Officers).
Deputy Dhaliwal had the dream of creating the fund when he met a Texas police officer who could not pay for roof repairs after Hurricane Harvey. The first beneficiary of the newly-created fund was Deputy Dhaliwal’s family.
“The Deputy Dhaliwal HERO Fund was Sandeep’s dream to help first responders who are affected in the line of duty or in need of emergency funds,” said Commissioner Adrian Garcia, who worked with Deputy Dhaliwal and United Sikhs to provide food and water to Puerto Rico residents in need after Hurricane Maria. “This was his dream to uplift humanity and his fellow first-responders as well as their families in their time of need.”
In continuing Deputy Dhaliwal’s legacy, United Sikhs will allow first reponders to request emergency funds directly on their website. Earlier this week, U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw submitted remarks on The HERO Fund to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:
“In the days before his passing, he expressed his dream of creating a fund for first responders and fallen heroes, which United Sikhs will carry on in his name,” Congressman Crenshaw wrote. “As a Houstonian, I am heartbroken over the loss of Deputy Dhaliwal, but as with every tragedy in my hometown, I am proud to see the community come together in the face of adversity.
While this display of compassion does not come close to replacing the husband, father, and son his family lost, it is a small way of showing how much Houston appreciates Deputy Dhaliwal and his contributions to our community and the inspiration he created for Sikhs who want to serve our nation.
He was a trailblazer and a hero. I urge all who hear and read this to take a moment to remember the life of Deputy Dhaliwal. The world would be a better place if we all lived by the example Deputy Dhaliwal set.”
Congress members, law enforcement officers, community leaders and dignitaries attended vigils held by United Sikhs around the world, including in Toronto, Canada, at Brampton’s Garden Square where Deputy Dhaliwal’s cousin, Jasbir Singh Malhi, attended.
“Deputy Dhaliwal left a deep impression in the hearts of so many,” said Jagdeep Singh, United Sikhs Executive Director. “We were honored to pay tribute with his family members and law enforcement officers across Canada.”
In the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Maria, Deputy Dhaliwal sprung into action and helped United Sikhs mobilize Texans to provide disaster relief, including food and medical services, to those in need across the state and country.
“We thank you for standing with the community in our time of need,” said Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez in a new video statement with United Sikhs team members. “We know Sandeep would want his humanitarian work to live on.”
In his ancestral land of Punjab, India, Deputy Dhaliwal helped United Sikhs lead a team of our volunteers to deliver water and vital necessities to farmers struggling to survive a record drought. To see Sikhs represented in a police uniform inspired an outpouring of messages of support from youth around the world looking to follow in his footsteps.
In his role as United Sikhs’ Director of Homeland Security, he advised the community on how to remain vigilant against any potential threats of hate crimes and advocate for their religious rights, including advocating for exemptions for the turban and unshorn hair in law enforcement and the military.
“Sandeep was our hero,” Hardayal Singh, United Sikhs Founder, said. “We were honored to have served humanity alongside him.”