ORLANDO, Fla. – Tears were shed and stories were shared as Orlando police Officer Kevin Valencia was honored and remembered Wednesday at his funeral.
His wife, Meghan Valencia, spoke as did Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón, Valencia’s coworkers and friends during a ceremony that lasted for several hours.
Rolon said Valencia was a “leader who put the needs of others before his own.”
“He is our hero,” Rolón said.
Officer William Thomas from the Orlando Police Department said he never expected to be speaking at Valencia’s funeral.
“He wouldn’t want us to be crying but celebrating his life,” Thomas said.
He added that Valencia was a family man above all.
“He loved you guys (his wife and children) so much that he would not stop talking about you all at work,” Thomas said.
When it was Meghan Valencia’s turn to speak, she said her husband was an “amazing father” who fought to stay alive as long as he could.
“I didn’t just lose my best friend who I built a life with, we lost a hero,” she said.
Now, she’ll have to raise their two sons without him.
“I’m grateful that God blessed us with two beautiful boys that not only look like their daddy but have his amazing personality, too,” she said.
For Orlando detective Emanuel Gonzalez, what he’ll miss most is Valencia’s laugh.
“There was something about Kevin, he always brought us together,” Gonzalez said.
Before the ceremony began at First Baptist Orlando, the hearse carrying Valencia’s body arrived and the Orlando Police Department performed a tribute.
The casket was then carried into the church and members of the department’s honor guard kept watch until the funeral began.
After a eulogy, two songs were performed by Officer Gladys Justiniano. The funeral ended with a video tribute to Valencia’s family and legacy.
The ceremony moved outside once the funeral concluded for a series of special honors, including a flyover, a three-volley salute, a performance of “Amazing Grace” and a formal flag-folding presentation.
A procession escorted Valencia to Baldwin Fairchild at Chapel Hill.
Valencia was responding to a domestic violence incident at an apartment complex on June 11, 2018 when the suspect shot through the door, hitting Valencia in the head, as Valencia was trying to kick it down.
The suspect is also accused of fatally shooting four children in the home -- Irayan Pluth, 12; Lillia Pluth, 10; Aidan Lindsey, 6; and Dove Lindsey, 1 -- before turning the gun on himself.
Valencia underwent several surgeries, receiving treatment both locally and at a rehabilitation center in Atlanta, but remained in a coma for more than a year. In October 2020, Valencia’s wife spoke during his Purple Heart ceremony and said he was showing some signs of improvement and could interact with her.