The community was saddened when Brett Korves passed away untimely but they're trying to make sure that his daughter knows she'll be loved.
Brett Korves, 30, a 10-year veteran at the Swansea Fire Department and a third-generation firefighter was killed in a car crash on April 4, 2019. Nine months later, his wife gave birth to his second child, someone Brett didn't even know was coming along.
"Brett woke up that morning, and he went to work … we had our son, we had our house, we were doing everything the right way," Brett’s widow, Alex Korves, told Good Morning America (GMA). "Then, some person decided to hit my husband while going 94 mph. It will be hard for [our family] the rest of our lives," she added.
The man who killed Brett has been charged with second-degree murder, according to KMOV. A couple of weeks after Brett died, Alex found out that she was pregnant with their second child. They had a son, Brock, 2, and with the new child on the way, Alex was nervous about being a single mother.
"At first, I’m not going to lie. I was freaking out," said Alex Korves. "I was very excited to have just one more piece of Brett, but I was also very nervous to do this by myself."
Their second child was born on December 12, 2019 and she was named after her father as Brett Grace Korves. Now, through a photoshoot, his newborn girl and son, as well as the Swansea Fire Department, have paid him a tribute with the help of Samantha Kallal, photographer and owner of Sugarfoot Photography. She heard about the Korves family and wanted to do something nice for them, so she offered them a free newborn photoshoot. "I wanted to do anything I could to help them. I specialize in newborns and it felt like the way I could do something for her," Kallal told GMA.
In the photoshoot, the newborn has been laid down on her father's uniform and she slept peacefully on it just like a baby would in their father's arms.
What was more surprising was that the entire department showed up for the shoot. Neither his family nor the photographer had realized how much Brett was loved by his colleagues until that day. The department also paid tribute to their fallen brother by placing his daughter in the middle and standing around her like a safety net. She was cradled by her grandfather, Jack Korves, who is a lieutenant at the department.
Brett's son, Brock, also posed with his little sister in the back of a firetruck with her in his lap. He was included in the group photograph with the department too though Alex was missing from them.
"I just want Brett Grace to realize that even though her father has passed … she has all this outpouring support from all these men, too," she told GMA.
Earlier, the community in Swansea, Illinois spoke about how much the third-generation firefighter was loved and would be missed. Former Swansea Fire Chief John McGuire said he has known Korves since he was a kid. "He came from a great family and his wife, Alex and little boy Brock are great too," McGuire told BND. McGuire said Brett "was a very outgoing person - just an all-around super guy." He was shocked when he heard about the 30-year-old's demise. Swansea Mayor Mike Leopold said he "will be very, very missed."
Brett's memory is being kept alive by his siblings, Todd Korves and Kayla Bishop, who started a foundation called Brett’s First Responders for families of "first responders who were not injured in the line of duty and develop a scholarship program for people seeking to become firefighters."
"I guarantee the first thing Brett would have said was 'Let’s get back to work,'" Todd said. "And that’s what we want to do to keep him alive as much as we can."