NEWARK, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) - The daughters of a fallen Danville Police officer got a special escort to their homecoming dance over the weekend, as other officers made sure to step in to take his place.
Their world changed in January when their dad, Officer Thomas Cottrell, died in the line of duty. Known as a devoted father, Cottrell was shot and killed behind the Danville Police station.
But the smiles were contagious as the Cottrell girls primped for a big night Saturday. Hair, nails, makeup and dresses checked off their list. "Those girls were his life; he always said, 'Those are daddy's princesses,'" said the girls' mother, Anna Montgomery.
Princesses Courtney, Brooklyn and Alycia were dressed to the nines for the Licking Valley homecoming dance. All three have dates and special escorts, as their dad's brothers in blue stepped up on what is sure to be a memorable evening for the girls.
"Yeah, he is watching over us in a way," said Courtney.
"If he was here today he'd be telling us, 'Don't make stupid decisions, be nice, have fun,'" said Brooklyn.
Danville Officers Mark Perkins and Josh Abshire stood in for their fallen comrade."We want you to forever know we are here with you always,"said Perkins. "It's an absolute honor for us to get to take your girls to the dance."
As their mother captured the moment, she couldn't say enough about the gesture. "I keep thanking them, but they just keep saying, 'It's our honor,'" said Montgomery.
Amidst the fun and smiles, still heavy hearts as the Cottrell girls create another memory without their dad. "He may not be physically with us, but he's in our hearts - that's all that counts," said Courtney.
This was Courtney's last homecoming dance. She graduates this year.