Those who knew Const. Jennifer Kovach best say the lifelong Guelph native was always ready to offer a helping hand and a big smile.

Kovach, 26, was killed early Thursday morning when her cruiser crossed over the centre line of the road and crashed into a Guelph Transit bus.

She was on her way to assist another officer with a traffic stop at the time.

Guelph resident Nancy Laxton says the incident was indicative of how Kovach lived her life – always happy to help.

Laxton says she’s known Kovach and her family for years, and when she called police for assistance last year, Kovach was the one to respond.

“She was right there, she kept me calm and she had this big smile,” Laxton tells CTV.

A Facebook page set up in Kovach’s memory had more than 2,500 likes as of Friday afternoon.

Kovach’s mother, longtime Guelph politician and current city councillor Gloria Kovach, released a statement on her daughter’s death Friday, thanking emergency officials, doctors, nurses and everyone else who was involved in the battle to save Kovach’s life.

“Jennifer was a truly amazing person who was living her lifelong dream of being a police officer,” the statement read in part.

“She was dedicated to serving her community. Jennifer had a vibrant zest for life and a gregarious smile. She is deeply loved and will be greatly missed.”

A makeshift memorial at the side of Imperial Road, only steps from where the crash occurred, was set up Thursday afternoon.

By Friday, the memorial site was brimming with cards, flowers, gnomes and other signs of well-wishers as cars continued to stop at the side of the road and add to the collection.

Kovach will receive a public funeral with police honours on March 21, beginning at 11:30 a.m.