LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - We have no way of knowing how horrible Christmas was for the nine-year-old son of Louisville Metro Police Det. Deidre Mengedoht after she was killed in a crash on Christmas Eve.
Friday, the community came together for a Christmas in February you might call it, as Mengedoht’s son, Preston, was treated to a shopping spree at Academy Sports & Outdoors.
With his father, Jason Mengedoht, by his side, Preston got to pick out fishing and hunting gear and anything else he wanted.
“When you leave for the day you may not come back,” Jason Mengedoht said. “You don’t ever think it’s going to happen to you or your family until it does. And you’re never really prepared for it.”
Preston now lives in the country on a seven-acre farm with his father, where they can spend a lot of time outdoors. He definitely had fishing on his mind, filling a shopping cart with a rod and tackle box.
He said fishing teaches him patience.
“He kind of gets withdrawn a little bit,” Jason Mengedoht said. “But with the support of our family and stuff he’s really come through.”
Those shopping with Preston hoped it helped him just get to be a kid for a minute.
“We wanted to put a smile on his face, bring him in and see if we could get him to come in here and shop and kind of forget about the tragedy that’s happened a little bit,” Amy Blevins of Academy Sports & Outdoors said.
Louisville Metro Police officers also tagged along for the day of shopping.
“See him smiling, see his brothers running around, they are kids doing things they don’t normally get to do,” LMPD Officer Donnie Cardell said. “It makes my day.”
In spite of everything that has happened, nine-year-old Preston is still taking care of his little brothers.
“There’s always something on my list, like watching the kids,” Preston told WAVE 3 News. “I’m kind of like a father to them.”
“He’s been really strong. Preston’s really been the rock of the family,” Jason Mengedoht said. “I’m so proud of him.”
Preston said he wasn’t ready for his shopping spree, but he thought it was “pretty cool.”
LMPD and Academy Sports & Outdoors donated toward the gifts Preston picked out Friday.
“It’s like really overwhelming for us,” Jason Mengedoht said. “Ever since the tragedy of losing his mom, there’s been so many people that’s reached out to help not just the family, but Preston himself. And this is amazing.”