When Kourtney Krietemeier was 13, her father, Donnie Young, a detective with the Denver Police Department, was killed in the line of duty.
In an instant, Krietemeier’s entire world turned upside down.
“We did everything together. He was my best friend,” Krietemeier, 28, told TODAY Parents. “So, not having him here for big moments is always really hard.”
Planning her October wedding to Tanner Krietemeier was especially difficult.
“Of course, it’s super happy, but at the same time, there’s this sadness, there’s that thing that’s missing,” Krietemeier explained.
She couldn't stop thinking about the traditional father-daughter dance.
“I was excited to dance with my mom, but I kept thinking about my dad,” she admitted. “I wanted him there too. I was kind of dreading that moment."
But it ended up being one of the most joyful parts of the day.
Kelly Young knew her daughter was struggling and secretly arranged for seven of her husband’s close friends from the police department to take his place. All have been in constant communication with the family since Young passed away 14 years ago.
Kelly Young asked the DJ play Paul Simon's "Father and Daughter," which has special meaning for Krietemeier. When she was a little girl, Young played the song when he presented her with a replica of his police badge.
"The lyrics are a snapshot of the infinite, indescribable love Donnie had for Kourtney," Officer Danny Veith told TODAY Parents.
Krietemeier was overwhelmed by the gesture.
“I ugly cried,” she admitted. “Having them tell me they were proud of me and how proud my dad would be, it was so comforting.”