Candlelight vigil for Kellywood |

PINETOP-LAKESIDE – People may not remember the weather on February 17, 2020 or the day of the week that day, but when they gathered for a candlelight vigil on February 17 of this week, they remembered White Mountain Apache Tribal Police Officer David Kellywood, whose watch ended on February 17, 2020 while performing his duties as a police officer.

In heavy snow at the Kellywood Memorial on State Route 73 near the intersection of State Route 260 across from the Hon Dah Resort and Casino, Law Enforcement Brotherhood members, tribal leaders and the Kellywood family gathered under and around a tent to commemorate the life of the fallen officer.

Attendance was limited due to COVID-19, but the ceremony was broadcast live on the White Mountain Apache Tribe Police Department Facebook page.

White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT) City Council, District 2, Jerold Altaha attended the event, which opened with a prayer from Pastor Christian Lent of the God Church Congregation on Canyon Day.

WMAT tribe chairwoman Gwenda Lee-Gatewood floated under an umbrella with a microphone as the snow fell and greeted attendees on behalf of the tribe.

“His smile would have melted the snow as it fell now,” said Lee-Gatewood, who thanked everyone for coming out for the event.

This David Kellywood smile was mentioned many times by his colleagues throughout the evening.

WMAT Police Chief Theodore Shaw addressed the crowd by going to where he said Kellywood had paid the ultimate price for his fellow man and choked with deep emotion in Scripture, saying, “Greater love has none Man as this; that one man lay down his life for another. “

Shaw turned to the group of cadets gathered for the ceremony, among other things, and spoke to them directly: “Nobody is forced to choose the profession of police officer. However, after the election, everyone is required to perform their duties in order to meet the high standards that correspond to the requirements. I want you to always remember this. “

Shaw switched to acknowledging his own emotional weakness about the memory of Kellywood, saying he never allowed himself to be weak. But when the pain of Kellywood’s loss surfaced for him last week, he focused on remembering the good memories and recited some of the fun things about Kellywood.

Others shared their loving, humorous, and sometimes serious memories of Kellywood. Capt. Lehigh Jessup, Lt. Stephen Kane, Sgt. Carl Leslie, Sgt. Antonio Cantu, and Deputy Zajac of the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office remembered their brother. With any story, there was no doubt to the listener that Kellywood had a lasting impact on everyone who knew him, and he would not be forgotten.

Kellywood’s wife, Kamellia, made the closing remarks. With steadfastness and grace, she pulled everyone close together with her personal stories about her husband that made you feel even if you didn’t know him personally. She said she liked to think the snow that fell was her husband. She said he loved this weather; he loved the cold. He would tell her cubs that he was a polar bear because he could go outside in the cold with his slippers and shorts on and not be affected at all.

Kamellia said that at the beginning of the day someone who was important to her said, “We need to remember how David lived. We all know how he died. We know what happened to him on the morning of February 17, 2020. Today I ask you all to remember how he lived, who he was as a father, as a husband, as a policeman, as a brother. a son and he was a very dedicated worker. He worked hard and I’m really grateful for all of the stories everyone shared. “

“As long as I knew him,” said Kamellia, “he wanted to be a cop, and all the qualities that made him who he was made him a great cop.” He worked hard, was dedicated, loving, and most importantly, patient. He was good with people and he enjoyed being out there and working and serving for the people here, as Lehigh Jessup mentioned, a servant. Service was something he enjoyed because he wanted to be a police officer, be a role model for his children, and make the world a safer place for his boys. “

Kamellia painted a picture for everyone, saying that they always saw him at the door getting ready for work. She said he looked forward to going there every day and that they would watch him put on his uniform and belt. She said she was lucky enough to have a picture of it and posted that picture on her Facebook page on Tuesday this week.

Kamellia said David had wanted to be a cop for as long as she could remember. He wanted to retire from the WMAT Police Department and his goal was to go back to school so he could qualify to become a police chief like Chief Shaw who was a role model to him.

When Altaha Kamellia handed the first candle to light, the candlelight vigil began – with the snow still falling steadily – accompanied by special music.

February 17th may have been the end of the watch for Kellywood, but it’s definitely not the end of his memory.

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