Browning, MT – Blackfeet Law Enforcement Services (BLES) Officer Velden Calica died unexpectedly on Nov. 16.
The 39-year-old officer was at his Browning home when he passed away, according to his obituary.
Officer Calica’s cause of death has not been released.
Prior to joining BLES in September of 2017, Officer Calica served in an array of programs aimed at assisting youth and families, according to his LinkedIn page.
The night before his sudden death, Officer Calica shared his thoughts on resiliency and the importance of being a positive role model for children in a Facebook post.
“I applaud those who are living and serving something bigger than themselves,” he wrote. “Please be a positive parent to your child. Hug them daily. Do everything to make them feel like their self-worth.”
Wendy Akkai Uh said that Officer Calica was “a lover of kids – especially wounded ones,” according to her Facebook post.
“He loved everyone and took the burdens of everyone upon his own shoulders with a smile,” she wrote. “To his brothers and sisters in uniform I send my love. To his children who were everything to him I send my love…let us not make his death be in vain but learn from it.”
Officer Calica’s passion for children also led him to establish the Glacier Youth Football Association, which caters to children between the ages of five and 14, according to the association’s Facebook page.
“Rest In Peace to the founder and the absolute only reason we have this league for our youth,” the football association said in a Facebook post on Sunday. “Velden Calica you inspired and touched everyone u came in contact with, you [were] a man that most want to be and strive to be.”
The association thanked the fallen officer for ensuring that the community’s youth “have something to look forward to and a platform to showcase their talent.”
Ty Thomas said he was just a child when Officer Calica mentored him as part of the Po’ka Systems of Care program, according to his Facebook post.
Officer Calica was “like an uncle” to him, Thomas said.
“I appreciate & I’m genuinely grateful for the friendships we’ve gotten to share,” he wrote. “I just wish we got to chat one more time just so I could tell you how grateful I was to have a good guy like you growing up and being there for me supporting me as a lil guy & til this day…God got himself a good one.”
The Pikuni Press & Newsfeed described Officer Calica as a “beacon” of the community in a Facebook post on Saturday.
“A mentor to many, a friend to all who knew him, a loving family man, a father, a brother and a son,” the local news outlet said. “When Velden walked into the room, the whole place lit up.”
In his off-time, Officer Calica also worked as a disk jockey for KBWG.
“We lost a DJ today, Bear Braids,” the radio station said in a Facebook post. “Velden Calica had a wicked sense of humor and a love of rock n roll – AC/DC’s biggest fan…condolences to his family and friends.”
A fundraising campaign established to assist Officer Calica’s wife, children and grandchildren in the wake of their loss has raised over $1,800 so far.
Officer Calica will be laid to rest on Nov. 23, according to his obituary.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Blackfeet Law Enforcement Services Officer Velden Calica, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.