Some 25 years ago, the 14-year-old grandson of one of Nick Hockman’s co-workers was shot and killed when a friend tossed him a loaded 44 Magnum pistol that went off. Accidentally.
“I went to the wake, saw this boy’s classmates and it tore me up,” Nick said. “So, if we can save one kid who picks up a gun that can’t go off because it’s locked, well then, we’ve saved someone.”
Last fall Nick found himself with a different kind of firearm, a compressed air gun, when he accepted a GGS invitation to participate in the Kansas City Police Department’s simulation of three “shoot or don’t shoot” scenarios, also known as officer involved shootings. “I can’t imagine going through that with real bullets flying; my adrenaline was really pumping,” Nick said after the experience. “I was just proud I didn’t ’kill’ anyone!”
His real life of retirement is much calmer. He’s a beekeeper who sells honey locally under the label Sail-Flower Honey. That name comes from another of Nick’s hobbies: sailing. As a member of the local Sailing Society, he teaches sailing at Shawnee Mission Park through Johnson County Parks and Recreation Dept.
Nick grew up in southeastern Ohio. After graduating from technical school, he began working for Hobart Corporation in Troy, OH, where he eventually became an engineering liaison concentrating in commercial refrigerated equipment. His 36 years with Hobart included a transfer here in 1991 where he and his wife Barbara decided to stay after he retired permanently in 2013. They live in Shawnee and have two daughters and three grandchildren.