PALM HARBOR, Fla. (WSVN) — The daughter of a fallen police officer from Florida was escorted to her senior prom by several of his brothers in blue.
For the men and women of the Tarpon Springs Police Department, it was a difficult duty they were nevertheless proud to accept. “[We’re] sad because we have to be here. Honored, because we can be here,” said Tarpon Springs Police Maj. Jeff Young.
Tarpon Springs Police Officer Charlie Kondek was killed in 2014 on what was supposed to be a routine call. His daughter, Aleena Kondek, had no idea the officers would be waiting to see her off to the prom, Saturday night.
“It’s our responsibility and our honor to stand in for Charlie,” said Young. “Charlie would be here, and he’s not able to be here, so we want to be here for Charlie and for Aleena.”
Aleena, who attends River Ridge High School in New Port Richey, said she’s thankful her father’s colleagues were there for her on such an important night in her life. “They always say, ‘never forgotten,’ and I totally believe that,” she said. “They’re always texting me, ‘How are you doing?’ and they step in with things that my dad did, and they’re amazing. I love each and every one of them.”
They lined up, shedding tears and wishing her well as they led her into the ballroom. Aleena said she knows her dad is right here with his extended police family, beaming as he watches her grow up. “I know he’s always with me. I just kept smiling throughout the day because I know he’s watching down,” she said, “and I know he’s probably tearing up watching me put makeup on and getting my hair done. They’re my dad’s brothers, and they’ve been stepping in, and they’re amazing.”
They stood by her to show that, while they can’t replace her dad, she will always be loved by his police family.
Aleena will graduate June 3.
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