Kimberly, Ala. (WIAT) — The city of Kimberly continues to remember Officer Nick O’Rear, who was killed in the line of duty on I-65 in February.
The North Jefferson First Responders Memorial Scholarship Fund is raising money to help rename the part of I-65 where O’Rear died after him.
O’Rear leaves behind three children. His youngest son was born two months after the incident.
Organizers like Tanya Cowart want his children to remember their father as a hero.
“He’s never going to meet his dad. So, if we keep talking about him, he’s going to know his dad was a hero,” Cowart said.
February 5 will be a day Kimberly Fire Chief Brendt Wood will never forget.
“I got woke up in the middle of the night. I was told about it. So, it kind of hit home. You’re not there. You’re not able to do anything and leave so you kind of feel helpless in a way,” Wood said.
Wood wears a bracelet with O’Rear’s name and date to honor the fallen officer and friend.
He says O’Rear was the perfect embodiment of the city’s spirit.
“Nick was just that extra piece to help fill that void in this community, to help anyone out whenever he could. Anytime anybody needed help, he’d drop what he was doing to go help,” Wood said.
Cowart says they are also raising money to help kids who want to become first responders live out that dream.
Police Chief Ricky Pridmore helps maintain the memorial for O’Rear off I-65. Some of his police lights in his vehicle came from O’Rear’s.
Like everyone in the city, he wants to do everything he can to keep his friend’s memory alive.
“The hero never dies as long as we don’t stop talking about them. And as long as we don’t stop talking about him, Nick is going to live on forever,” Cowart said.
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