Mother of fallen Detroit officer works to help keep other officers healthy

Posted at 7:06 PM, Feb 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-27 19:09:52-05

(WXYZ) — A year ago this month, one of Detroit's finest dropped dead from a heart attack. He was only 33. So his mother made it her mission to save other officers and first responders from the same fate.

"He always wanted to be a police officer and he made that dream come true," said Rita Hiatt, mother of the late Donald Hiatt. "I think he was probably one of the best."

Donald was living the dream in blue as one of Detroit's finest. He was proud to serve and protect. Then a call came that no mother wants.

"I thought maybe he fell or I could not imagine his heart and when I seen him I thought, how could this be at 33," Rita said. "Who would have thought (about) him having a heart attack."

Donald's heart stopped beating. He was rushed by ambulance to the hospital but it was too late.

"They were trying to start his heart back up and they got to the hospital and that was it," Rita said. "It was a blood clot to the heart."

Donald was gone at 33, but his mom turned grief into a mission to stop this silent killer from taking another hero.

"I wanted to make sure nobody suffered," Rita said.

She reached out to Ascension Providence for help. Generous donors put these mobile health screening units in motion at all 11 Detroit police precincts. Police, fire fighters and EMT's get free screening for heart disease and mammograms for women.

The screening takes about 30 minutes to complete.

Ascension providence plans to expand this free screening to other precincts outside of Detroit as a way to say thank you to officers who give so much with so little given in return.

Watch Carolyn's interview with RIta Hiatt above.