HOUSTON - When you lose someone, beloved and irreplaceable, there is some comfort in close proximity with the people and the things that drew their passion.
And so it is for Mike Knox as he drove up in the vintage police cruiser, carefully restored by his son, fallen HPD officer Jason Knox.
“He was a man of integrity. He was a man of faith and he was happy,” said Knox of Jason who was 35-years-old.
A few feet from the HPD Memorial, soon to bear his son’s name, Mike Knox spoke of a ferocious friend who smiled way more often than not and embraced his daily mission protecting others from the cockpit of a police helicopter with the same fervor he loved his wife and young family.
“We can’t seem to find a picture that we have where he's not smiling - particularly when he's sitting in the helicopter. He's got a look on his face that's just amazing. He was living his dream and he died doing what he loved to do - so, we are having to change our plans,” said Knox, his voice cracking with emotion.
Lives and plans changed by a crash landing Jason Knox did not survive. A longtime police officer before being elected to Houston City Council, Mike Knox knew the risks of service his son shouldered, and like all parents, prayed for the best.
“You can't worry about tomorrow's problems without destroying today's peace,” said Knox.
It will, understandably, be a good while before that “peace” can truly return. In the meantime, Mike Knox will endeavor to do what his son would have wanted - continue to serve the community he loves and nurture the grandkids left in his care.
“Right now, the three-year-old doesn't quite get it. She knows her Daddy is in heaven and won't be coming home, but she keeps insisting we can just give him a band-aid,” said Knox.
The toughest of stuff for a grieving father who has mustered the strength to say with pride that a good man has left us for a better place, let us honor his memory with our actions.
“Do the right thing for your neighbors for your family members friends not because anybody is watching or that somebody is going to patch you on the back or tell you what a good guy you are. Do the right thing because it is the right thing to do,” said Knox.
Jason Knox will be laid to rest Saturday surrounded by family, friends and fellow officers.