Honor student Aleena Kondek graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Central Florida.
Tragically, her late father, Tarpon Springs officer Charles “Charlie” Kondek Jr., was not in attendance; he was killed in the line of duty in December 2014.
Yet Tarpon Springs Police Department (TSPD) made sure their fallen hero was represented at his daughter’s milestone event.
Officers from TSPD were joined by members of the University of Central Florida Police Department (UCFPD) to take photos with the happy graduate.
Aleena’s mother, Teresa Kondek, told The Epoch Times that Pasco County Sheriff’s Office also sent an honor guard to their house, and a Huey military helicopter performed a fly over to congratulate her daughter.
Since her father’s passing, Aleena, the youngest of five siblings, has told teachers and peers that she owes her determination to her dad and intends to make him proud by reaching her academic goals, according to a GoFundMe college fund started when Aleena was in high school.
Following in her father’s footsteps, Aleena also worked at UCFPD while completing her college studies.
The TSPD wished Aleena the “greatest success” in a Facebook post, pledging full confidence in her ability to rise to the occasion and help others as her career progresses.
The UCFPD, adding their own congratulations, wrote: “We know our officers can’t fill the shoes of her father on this milestone day, but we hope that our presence reminded her of how proud he and her extended law enforcement family are.
“Do great things, Aleena! Charge on!”
Aleena has hit the ground running. The young woman has accepted a job as a registered nurse at a prestigious hospital in Florida.