Tarpon Springs officers step in for fallen colleague's daughter on prom night
TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. - Members of the Tarpon Springs Police Department stepped in for a fallen colleague, taking his place to escort his daughter to prom Saturday night.
Officer Charlie Kondek was shot and killed as he responded to a noise complaint call in 2014. Kondek's colleagues say they felt it was their duty to fill in for Kondek and send his daughter Aleena Kondek off to her prom.
"It's our responsibility and our honor to stand in for Charlie. Charlie would be here and he's not able to be here. So we want to be here for Charlie and for Aleena," said Maj. Jeff Young.
Teresa Kondek, Aleena's mom, secretly organized the officers to be waiting for her daughter when she got dropped off at the prom. They shed tears, shared hugs and wished her well before walking her into the dance.
Aleena Kondek says she was proud to have her police family by her side and feels her dad was there watching, too.
"They always say, 'never forgotten,' and I totally believe that. 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," said Kondek.
"I know he's always with me. I just kept smiling all day because I know he's watching down and I know he's probably tearing up watching me," said Kondek.
Kondek attends River Ridge High School in New Port Richey.