A work family came together to honor their fallen comrade and his daughter.

Prom is supposed to be a happy time in a young person’s life. It’s a milestone filled with fancy frocks, big plans, and even bigger dreams.

But it’s hard to think about prom without conjuring up images of proud parents snapping photos. So to lose one of your parents before that big moment can be heartbreaking. That’s one reason this story has people everywhere wiping away tears.

Why One Mother Wanted to Make Her Daughter’s Prom Special

young woman wearing a sparkly necklace and earrings
YouTube/Fox News

In December 2021, just days before Christmas, a Tarpon Springs, Florida officer named Charles Kondek Jr. was sent on a routine call. There, he was unexpectedly killed when someone trying to evade arrest pulled out a gun, shot him, and then ran him over with a vehicle. The man was later arrested and charged with first-degree murder.

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It was a horrific moment Kondek’s family — including his six kids — will never forget. It also shook everyone in the community, and the precinct was heartbroken. So when Kondek’s widow wanted to make her daughter Aleena’s prom extra special a year-and-a-half later, the man’s former co-workers were happy to step in and help.

The Huge Surprise One Young Woman Received

On prom weekend, a dozen or so police officers came together and greeted Aleena as she stepped off her prom bus. Together, they escorted her to the big event.

“It was an honor and privilege to be able to do this for Charlie as we know he would have been there himself,” the police department wrote in a since-deleted Facebook post. “We Will Never Forget – TSPD Blue Family.”

In an interview with Fox News, one of the officers who showed up that day reiterated the message. “It’s our responsibility and our honor to stand in for Charlie,” he told cameras. “Charlie would be here, and he isn’t able to be here. So we want to be here for Charlie.”

How One Fallen Officer’s Memory Is Kept Alive

For her part, Aleena was touched. It meant a lot to see her dad’s fellow officers there, reminding her that he’s always in their hearts.

“They always say never forgotten, and I totally believe that because every day they’re texting me, saying ‘How are you doing?’ and they step in with things that my dad did,” she told Fox News. “They’re amazing. I love each and every one of them.”

RELATED: Dedicated Father Regrets Never Having Been to Prom – Teen Daughter Steps in and Brings Him to Tears

While some might have expected the teen to be sad during the big day, the memory of her dad brought a smile to her face.

“I know he’s always with me, but I just kept smiling throughout the day because I know that he’s watching down,” she said. “I know he’s probably tearing up watching me put my makeup on and get my hair done. They’re my dad’s brothers, and they’ve been amazing.”

How Police Officers Proved the Importance of Showing Up

Hard things happen in life, but what gets any of us through is the support and kindness of our communities and loved ones. Aleena’s prom story is a great example of that, and it serves as a reminder of just how important it is to show up for the people we love.

If you’re a parent, that could mean making sure you’re there for all the moments in your kids’ lives, and not just the big ones. The same goes for grandparents and extended family. As a friend, showing up with dinner when your pal is down or showing up to help them even when they didn’t ask can be huge.

There are many ways to let the people we love in our lives know that we’re there for them; it’s just a matter of reminding yourself to make the time. After all, none of us know just how much time we’ve got left.