Fallen Cop’s Daughter’s Speech at State Police Memorial Symbolizes Law Enforcement Solidarity

Fallen Cop’s Daughter’s Speech at State Police Memorial Symbolizes Law Enforcement Solidarity

By Stephen Owsinski

As the annual commemoration of fallen law enforcement officers upon us, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC, is typically followed by respective states holding their vigils and remembrances of LEOs slain in the line of duty.

Recently, from April 28-29, 2024, the Florida Fraternal Order of Police held its Evening of Remembrance in the Sunshine State’s Capitol in Tallahassee.

There, Aleena Kondek, daughter of slain Tarpon Springs Police Officer Charles R. Kondek, Jr., gave a heartrending speech that touched upon the continuous embrace of her family by the law enforcement personnel who worked with her father, all of whom, nine years after the world lost a selfless policeman who adored his loved ones beyond measure, still serve as surrogates in the everyday lives of Officer Kondek’s spouse and children.

As depicted throughout the entire speech given by Aleena Kondek, especially noted are the two flanks attired in police uniforms —one her brother, Officer Andrew Kondek who now serves as a Tampa International Airport PD cop, and the other, Officer Larry Bird who serves as a Tarpon Springs PD officer, aka uncle— honorably demonstrating the tapestry of law enforcement, tightly woven after one of their own is mortally wounded in the line of duty.

(Photo courtesy of Teresa Kondek.)

As a retired policeman whose career was served in Florida (not too far from the Kondek homestead), this brand of compassion for and pillaring of a fallen officer’s family remains a gestural testimony with profound attributes in police culture.

(Photo courtesy of Teresa Kondek.)

As Aleena articulated, in every imaginable event and milestone or hardship she and her siblings and mom experienced, badges and blues buttressed events and showed up in Charlie Kondek’s stead.

Blue blood not only runs deep but also chronicles a full calendar that is unfailingly adhered to, graciously catering to needs known and unknown.

Indeed, law enforcement culture shoulders its members’ loved ones. That compassion and camaraderie is profoundly pervasive. And it flows both ways…

The Kondek family is also deeply giving, especially concerning the police profession and the first responders who earnestly deserve rest and relaxation away from it all…in a mountain-range tract of land with a structure dedicated to cops seeking a retreat to decompress.

Charlie K’s Kabin

Approximately two years ago, in May 2022, the National Police Association published a piece availing the Kondek family’s project: Charlie K’s Kabin.

What I wrote then was this:

In the months preceding December 2014, Tarpon Springs, Florida, police officer Charlie “K” Kondek, Jr. relished the thoughts of a retirement home built somewhere up in the mountains. A humble abode in which he and his beloved family could switch gears and enjoy solitude afforded by nature, leave long burdensome patrol shifts behind, and live happily ever after.

Then a menace came along and unloosed mayhem…shattering the Kondek family’s police-retirement plans.

An armed evildoer upended personal plans for which the Kondeks harbored high hopes.

Since then, Teresa Kondek and her children, like police families are known to do, re-envisioned the dream…

Enter Charlie K’s Kabin, a construction blueprint manifested as a retreat for law enforcement officers and their respective loved ones to remotely exhale the grief collected from police work and inhale fresh air…far away from menace and mayhem. Sort of a slice of Heaven designated for those who fight the good fight against the tsunami of hellacious matters.

(Architectural rendering representing Charlie K’s Kabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains of NC. Photo courtesy of Teresa Kondek.)

I also wrote something about everything the Kondek family pillars, namely the law enforcement community:

Teresa is nothing less than a Mother Teresa for law enforcement, public safety, and first responder families everywhere. Her Giving Back to Blue covenant contains myriad gestures honoring the law enforcement community.

One need only check her website to chronicle how widely scoped she and her children are with respect and honor for police officers and their families.

We bow our heads and fold our hands together in prayer before, during, and after National Police Week 2024, honoring all slain LEOs.

The words spoken by Aleena Kondek at the Florida Fraternal Order of Police Evening of Remembrance event resemble the heartfelt sentiments harbored by those who are also members of Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS), especially at a time when America’s peacekeepers who paid the ultimate price are solemnly commemorated with the soft glow of candle lights during a vigil in their eternal honor.