Slain policeman's fellow officers escort daughter to father-daug - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Slain policeman's fellow officers escort daughter to father-daughter dance

There are certain rites of passage for every little girl, and Saturday was one of them: the daddy-daughter dance.

"20 guys and I'm the only girl,” said Kalie Buenting proudly.

Her dance card was full on Saturday.

“I might even get a little teary-eyed,” said Kalie.

That’s because none of them are her dad.

“He was one in a million. Probably more like one in a billion,” recalled Ft. Dodge Police Officer Matt Webb of Rockwell City, IA police officer Jamie Buenting, who was shot and killed last September while responding to a standoff.

"You never really believe that that would happen to you,” said Buenting’s wife Amanda.

Buenting also left behind two children, Kalie and Ethan.

“We're surviving. It's very difficult. We have tears, lot of tears,” explained Amanda.

In the seven months since his death, Jamie's fellow officers have rallied around his family, taking Ethan hunting and being a shoulder to cry on during Amanda's most difficult days.

"I miss every night when he would come and say before he went to work, he would always come home and say goodnight to us, and I loved when he did that,” recalled Ethan.

"Never in my life did I think that I would need that much support. It's just been tremendous and it's the only thing that's got us through,” admitted Amanda.

"We were brothers on a team, and that's what brothers do,” said Jayson Heesch, a Webster County Sheriff's Department sergeant.

Saturday night was eight-year-old Kalie's turn.

"Give Kalie a good time, and something she'll remember,” said Calhoun County Deputy Sheriff Shane Voith, who came up with the idea.

After all, this was a night, she's never missed.

“Kalie has gone to every single father daughter dance there was,” explained Amanda.

Buenting's fellow officers of the SERT unit (a SWAT team made up of area deputies and police officers) were going to make sure she made it this year.

"I thought it was an awesome idea. I wanted to be a part of it,” added Leighton Walker, a member of the Ft. Dodge police force.

So members of his tactical unit, the same men who were with him the night he was killed, suited up to match Kalie's pretty purple dress. Some brought flowers and sparkly jewelry.

Heesch gave her a St. Christopher medal to let her know she'll always be protected, even though her daddy's gone.

“They mean a lot, just to go for me. To make sure I'm happy,” said Kalie.

“This does more for me. Just being here and seeing her. Knowing I can help,” added Heesch.

There were no tears, only smiles from ear to ear.

“Every time we see her, she just reminds me of him. She's running around. She's smiling,” observed Walker.

As she thinks about the future, the graduations, the weddings, Amanda knows more bittersweet moments lie ahead.

"It's hard to consider what it will be like without him here. Who will take that place? Who will be here for us,” she wondered.

However, she's comforted by the friends.

"They show what Jamie meant to them and also what we meant to them,” she said.

Friends she'll have by her family's side, every step of the way.

Kalie said she plans to go to the father-daughter dance every year with her father's fellow officers, even when she's 18.

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