Deputy Sheriff Kent Mundell of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department in Washington was killed in the line of duty in 2009 while responding to a domestic dispute. Last weekend, his 22-year-old daughter Kristen got married and received quite a surprise.
Prior to her wedding day, Kristen Mundell asked her dad’s old friend and colleague, Officer Don Jones, to walk her down the aisle in her father’s place. She had no idea that her dad’s old friend and other colleagues had something special planned for her.
While talking about planning her wedding in an interview with KOMO, Kristen said, “Any wedding is a big deal, and not having my dad there was a lot harder for all of us.”
To honor her father, Kristen left a seat for him in the front row.
“It’s hard realizing it’s been almost six years, and he’s not going to be there in that chair,” she said. “It’s his chair, and he’s there, but he’s not. It meant a lot knowing that we were able to save a spot for him and knowing that I felt him there I knew he was there.”
She also paid tribute to her dad by wearing a thin blue line, which commemorates fallen officers in the law enforcement community, on the back of her dress.
However, the thing she didn’t plan for her wedding is the one she will never forget. Officer Jones and other members of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department decided to fill in for their deceased friend during the father-daughter dance.
Since Don Jones walked Kristen down the aisle, he got the first dance. While they were dancing, other officers lined up to cut in.
“We’re sitting there dancing and then all of a sudden someone taps me on the shoulder and says, ‘Can I cut in?’ And I was shocked. I didn’t know how to react, how to respond,” Kirsten said. “He said, ‘there’s a whole line of us,’ and right as he said that is when the next officer cut in and I just broke down.”
Angela Lyons, the photographer who captured it all on camera, was touched by the moment.
She said, “I felt as if my heart was both full of joy and soaring, and breaking into a million pieces on the floor all at once. I had to put the camera down to wipe my eyes.”