WAXAHACHIE

Kailyn Williams was going into seventh grade when a drunk driver killed her father in the line of duty. It took her years to accept her father’s death. It was also during that time she learned to use volleyball as an outlet.

The Waxahachie Police Department has shown immense support for the family of Josh Williams, an officer who died in 2012.

For instance, on Saturday, March 10, the department and family will host a trash pickup along the stretch of US Highway 77 dedicated in his honor. But, this is only the most recent support the department has shared with the Williams family.

They often served as the family's biggest, and loudest, cheerleaders.

Josh’s daughter, Kailyn, or KJ for short, started her volleyball career on the A-team in seventh grade. Kailyn, a Mansfield Timberview senior, has also now signed a National Letter of Intent to continue her volleyball career at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Waxahachie Police officers have cheered her on all along the way, even when Waxahachie was the opponent.

Officer O.T. Glidewell has been with the department for 10 years and had Josh as his field-training officer. He shared how officers have attended KJ’s volleyball games to be there when her father couldn’t.

“We wanted to show her that we were there to support her and try to stand in for her dad,” Glidewell said. “It was neat because officers would come on or off duty.”

Glidewell shared that there would be between five to 12 officers supporting for KJ from the stands. Some officers would even make an hour-long trip to watch.

During the game, the Mansfield Timberview student-athlete said she also remained focused on her teammates and winning.

“Honestly when I play, I don’t feel anything. Like if I’m sick, I won’t feel it when I’m playing. I don’t have time to think about my personal life because I’m thinking about my teammates,” KJ explained.

She referenced herself has the most vocal player on the team, both on and off the court. KJ said she always takes the lead on the prayer before games and shared that if there’s anything negative or stress going on, she encourages her teammates to “ball it up and throw it up to God.”

That’s precisely how KJ dealt with her father’s death. She also had the Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS) program to uplift her and her mother, Deanna Williams.

Deanna has served as vice president of the COPS program and is grateful for the opportunities it has provided the family.

When Josh passed, KJ took it hard and didn’t have any outlets to confide in since no one her age could relate. So, KJ and Deanna made a trip to Missouri to attend a camp sponsored by COPS.

“Nobody really understood what she was going through because nobody else had lost a parent like that. She got there and didn’t like it in the beginning and was kind of withdrawn. Then at the end, she asked me if she could come back,” Deanna explained.

Deanna shared that KJ didn’t want to discuss her father’s death but was able to speak with those in the program about it. She mentioned that volleyball had a relatable effect on KJ’s spirit too.

“I’m very, very proud of her, she’s really strong,” Deanna expressed.

KJ thinks about her father when she’s relaxing and has nothing on her mind. She mentioned how it seems her father is around with the police paraphernalia that’s spread out in her home, which includes Josh’s glasses.

KJ said if she could speak with her father, she would thank him for everything and hope she made him proud.

Officers in Waxahachie remember Josh on a daily basis. For Glidewell, Josh taught him everything he knows about police work. When looking back at Josh’s impact on the station, Glidewell said, “He was friends with everyone up here and had a laidback attitude. He was a comedian. He was a prankster, that was part of the fun years when we played jokes on each other.”

“Josh always took a lot of pride in his job,” Glidewell added. “He was very proud to be a police officer. I think he took a whole lot more pride in being a father and a husband; that’s what I noticed right away.”

The department and Williams family invite the community to a highway cleanup Saturday, March 10 in Josh’s honor. Those interested can meet at the Academy Sports and Outdoors, located at 1650 North Dallas Hwy, at 9:30 a.m. in Waxahachie.

Those participating will clean a stretch of the highway that is dedicated in honor of officer Joshua Williams. The pick up will start at the 1600 block of North US Highway 77 (North Dallas Highway) and will work toward Butcher Road.

Josh was a 17-year veteran of the Waxahachie Police Department.

 

Ashley Ford | Facebook | Twitter | 469-517-1450