There are few things as daunting as your first day at school. I can remember mine clearly, and it’s a day tainted by tears and tantrums.
But then, my first day at school was nothing in comparison to that of Dakota Pitt. The five-year-old from Terre Haute, Indiana, had suffered a life-altering loss just one week earlier, when his father, 45-year-old Rob Pitts, was killed whilst on duty.
Pitt, a 16-year-old veteran of the Terre Haute Police Department was fatally shot by 21-year-old Christopher Wolfe during a three-hour shootout after officers responded to reports that Wolfe had murdered a 26-year-old man.
Pitt’s tragic death deeply affected all of his colleagues, but nobody was more heartbroken by the news than Dakota.
So when Dakota asked for one of his dad’s work friends to deliver him to school on his first day, the whole department rose to the challenge to honor their brave colleague.
Watch this heartwarming video to see what they did for Dakota…
On the day, 70 officers from the Terre Haute Police Department and SWAT team lined the entrance to Dakota’s elementary school. They applauded the five-year-old as he bravely made his way through the doors – but their cheers weren’t just for Dakota, they were for his dad too.
Clearly still clinging to the memory of his dad, Dakota wears Pitt’s police badge proudly around his neck. But that isn’t the only thing he has to connect him to his father, because the SWAT team also gave him a t-shirt to make him an honorary member of the team.
In addition, they also promised to always have Dakota’s back to help fill the void left by his father’s premature passing.
“He will definitely know that his dad was a hero,” explains Dakota’s aunt, Kelli Jones to WTHI-TV. “Blood doesn’t always make family, and I think the blue family just went above and beyond.”
The emotional moment is a reminder of the good that still exists in this world, and proof that in times of tragedy, you never need to feel alone.
We wish Dakota all the very best for the future, although it would seem that he doesn’t really need it, as with 70 police officers by his side it would seem he will be perfectly okay!