Lifestyle & Human Interest

Cop Shot in Line of Duty Can’t Walk Daughter Down Aisle at Wedding, So Fellow Officer Stands In


California Highway Patrol Officer Jake Steel got a unique request this month that led to an experience not many get to have. As an officer, he has seen all sorts of things, but in May someone contacted him with an unusual plea.

There was a young woman getting married nearby who was missing one element of her dream wedding: Her father.

Carrie Ann, the mother of the bride, called and ended up connecting with Steel, asking if there was someone who could step in and cover for the bride’s father. The reason they needed a stand-in was heartbreaking.

Mike Kralicek, father of bride Amanda Rabe, was a former police officer himself. He was shot while working years ago, and he was left with major health issues including migraines so bad they would make him black out.

He was planning to attend his daughter’s wedding in California, but when he got to the airport in Idaho the TSA wouldn’t approve him.

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“It’s normal for him,” Rabe said, referring to her father’s condition, during an interview with KTXL. “We’re very used to it, TSA wasn’t.”

Now Rabe had no one to walk her down the aisle, and no one to dance with during that all-important father-daughter dance. But then there was Steel, and he obliged.

“Her magic day they planned for her father to be there,” he said. “It was years in the making and they were saying in the last minute he couldn’t make it and they needed somebody to stand in for him.

“A very proud moment. Just knowing I’m there to help somebody out at their magic moment in time.”

Rabe told Liftable, a section of The Western Journal, that she found out about Steel just an hour before the ceremony, but she was so grateful for his help.

That wasn’t the only thing that made Steel’s presence special. He knew exactly what it was like to miss a father, as he’d lost his own — who also worked for CHP — as a teenager.

“He also knows exactly how that feels to have his dad miss his special moments,” Rabe recalled, according to KTXL.

“It was wonderful to have him there,” she said. “I don’t think words can ever describe having somebody just completely wrap you in their love and share that moment with you.”

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After the wedding, Rabe posted the story online.

“This man you see in this photo, he is an amazing, selfless and kind man,” she posted. She wrote about how Steel walked her down the aisle and danced with her, and how it was all beautiful and she could sense the joy. “This man…is not my dad.”

“My dad and mom were unable to attend after not being allowed on the plane after my dad who has a spinal cord injury after being shot in the line of duty 14 years ago had a medical issue causing him to be unable to board a plane.”

“So this man who was called to answer a desperate request….selflessly offered to stand in for my daddy. He brought his beautiful daughter and handsome son to attend my wedding.”

“When you look at a law enforcement family…it’s like an iceberg,” she continued. “The visible portion…and the hidden portion that holds it all together. This is my family. This man is my family. And his daughter is my sister. And his son is my brother. They banded together to make sure my dads brother could escort me in my time of need.”

Carrie Ann echoed her daughter’s sentiments, posting the same photo and sharing how much like family Steel had helped make them feel.

“This is truly how this family works,” she posted. “LE steps in for their brothers and sisters who are injured or killed in the line of duty when it is needed the most. It does not matter if you are blue, brown or green. When needed the most they are all up for the task.”

Rabe also told Liftable that she and her new husband will be visiting her parents in Idaho soon so they can celebrate with them and get some photos taken.

“They have always tried to make things normal,” she told Liftable, “and even when my dad couldn’t be there he still found a way to manage to be there in spirit with me.”

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