PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A hero remembered never dies.
15 years to the day of his passing, those who knew Panama City Beach Police Department Sergeant Kevin Kight keep his legacy alive.
"He loved the community," Kevin's widow, Christina Kight-McVay said. "He never met a stranger. Always had a smile on his face. Always there to help. Loved his job."
Social distancing made this anniversary more challenging. Public plans for hundreds were made private at a roadside memorial on Front Beach Road, where Kight was shot and killed during a traffic stop on March 27, 2005.
Even so, everyone found a way. Lieutenant J.R. Talamantez set up a live stream.
When viewers come to pay respects in person, they can participate with the help of Lieutenant Christopher Boyer.
"We have glow sticks," Lt. Boyer explained. "They're going to be inside the lobby here at Edgewater so everyone could go and have their own personal reflection time and pay honor to the man who gave the ultimate sacrifice for his community."
Some tributes last a lifetime, like son Brandon's decision to join the force this year.
"I thought about it for year," Officer Kight recalled. "I'm glad I finally made the move to do this. At the end of the day, I'm happiest doing this."
"It was always there," his mother said. "Just like every kid, he dressed up, pretended when he was little. Even at the funeral, he dressed up."
Like father, like son.
"There's a calmness about him. He's very content. Just like his dad."
The mission to protect and serve goes beyond the job.
"It's one huge family, and it's beyond the department," Lt. Boyer continued. "After something like that happens, it's our job to step in and take over the role as maintenance man."
"I was real young when it happened," Officer Kight added, "so most of what I know about him, I've learned from other people. It's amazing how many people still remember him."
Although unexpected circumstances like coronavirus might get in the way of a traditional memorial, nothing can prevent the family or the police force from remembering Sgt. Kevin Kight forever.
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