While some mourn celebrities lost in 2016, Howard County focuses on its hero

Signs still hang around Howard County to remember a deputy shot and killed in March. (WISH Photo)

KOKOMO, Ind (WISH) – Fishers Fire Department sparked conversation after a social media post made Thursday reminded people to not only remember celebrities we lost in 2016, but responders as well.

It’s a message that resonated in Howard County where Deputy Carl Koontz was shot and killed serving a warrant in March. Nine months later, the signs of his death are still around.

“It happens, you hate that it happens, you hate the loss of a brother, or sister, but the most important thing is carrying on the watch,” Clifford Signs employee, Jason Burton said.

That’s why while some are tearing over celebrities, Howard County is focused on its hero. “Primary concern on my mind are the public safety individuals who are putting their lives on the line for everybody,” Burton said.

“I’m thinking more about people that aren’t entertaining me per say, but are protecting me, my kids, and my community,” Expressions Design Company co-owner, Brad Conwell said. After Deputy Koontz was killed, area businesses stepped up.

At Expressions Design Company, shirts were pressed, sold, with all the money going to the Koontz family. “It wasn’t even as much about the dollar amount, as it was them seeing people wearing the shirts, them seeing the outpouring of support from the community,” Conwell said.

Clifford signs employees were busy too. Crews raced to print, and produce hundreds of these signs.

It was a tough time for employee Jason Burton. The fellow officer worked alongside the fallen deputy.

“Having to make those signs for Carl, personally, it made me feel good,” Burton said. “But it was also a hard thing to do.”

It’s s tragic death that may have soured 2016, but it also strengthened the community for years to come. “I think a lot of people are ready for a fresh start,” Burton said. “We’ll see what the new year holds.”

The two stores sold hundreds of Koontz items. In all, they donated nearly $20,000 to the Koontz family.

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