Karen E. Barnes, who relatives said joined the military and patrolled the streets of New York City in an effort to serve her country and keep humanity safe, died this month at 45.
Born in East Meadow on Feb. 2, 1966, Barnes grew up in Hempstead and graduated from Hempstead High School in 1984. During her last year of high school, she joined the Army with her twin sister, Karol E. Barnes.
"Me and my sister kind of did everything together," said Barnes, of Bay Shore, a Hempstead police officer.
After serving two years in the 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, N.C., Karen Barnes became a state trooper for a year and later joined the New York City Police Department, where she was a police officer for 20 years, her sister said.
"She loved the military and she loved being a cop," said Karol Barnes, who added her twin had no children. She worked in Harlem with the Police Service Area 5 of the Housing Bureau.
For 10 years starting in 1988, she tried to obtain a bachelor's degree in secondary education from the State University of New York at Old Westbury, her sister said. Karen E. Barnes completed three years toward her degree but, because of her demanding schedule, was unable to finish, her sister said.
"She worked her whole life without a break," said her sister, who added Barnes wanted to be a science teacher. "Now, she took that break and she doesn't have to be in time for anything."
Barnes' favorite pastimes were visiting Atlantic City, taking trips to Hawaii and going on cruises to countries like Canada. She also loved animals and donated blood often.
In her memory, her family donated her corneas so she could give a blind person the gift of sight, her sister said.
"She was just a sweet, loving person with a good heart," her sister said.
A memorial service was held Friday morning at Union Baptist Church in Hempstead. A military burial was held at Calverton National Cemetery that afternoon.
In addition to her sister Karol, she is survived by her mother, Vivian Barnes, 80, of Hempstead; her sisters, Dorothy, Ruby, and June; and her brothers, John, Jeffery and Vincent.