Son's memory inspires family to give back

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- The parents of a 5-year-old boy who passed away in 2018 are keeping his legacy of helping others alive.

The boy's mother said her son made an impact on many people's lives, from the police chief to neighbors. She said his example inspired her to give back to the community her son loved.

"He was a win for me then, he was a win for me now, so he's a win," said Madison Police Chief Mike Koval, tearing up.

Koval still remembers meeting 5-year-old Dominic May at a Kids Expo in the spring of 2018.

"He was very unequivocal, matter-of-fact. He says 'I'm going to be a police officer like you someday,'" Koval remembered.

Dominic's mom Meghan May said the Chief's life is just one of many her son touched.

"He was the most caring boy, sweet, funny, compassionate," she said. "He had this light about him, and he had this way where he could make anybody smile."

In July 2018, Dominic was hit and killed by a car when a neighbor backed up his vehicle. Koval went to the scene that day, not knowing the boy was Dominic.

"One of those days that will stay with you for a while," he said. "It was almost as if we were walking around like zombies."

After Dominic's death, law enforcement agencies including the Madison Police Department gave him an honorary police funeral. Koval even made sure Dominic could get an official Madison Police badge.

Koval saw Dominic's badge for the first time Tuesday, choking up as he looked at it.

Dominic always wanted to help others, and Meghan did not want that spirit to die. She started "Dominic's Ripple" to keep her son's legacy alive.

"We wanted people to know Dominic for how he lived his life and not for how he died," Meghan said.

Meghan wants to raise money to give the Madison Police Department a new K9 unit in Dominic's memory.

"He loved animals, he loved dogs, he wanted to be a police officer," Meghan said.

Chief Koval will always carry the memory of the 5-year-old boy who wanted to be just like him.

"This well-traveled picture goes into my cargo pant every day," Koval said of a picture of Dominic dressed as a cop for Halloween. "When I carry him with me, I carry him in my heart."

Meghan is holding a fundraiser Sunday for Dominic's Ripple kicking off at 1 p.m. at the Keva Sports Center in Middleton. She hopes to raise $50,000 for the K9 unit.