One year ago, today Kennis Croom, a Tuscaloosa native who once served with Tuscaloosa PD, was killed in the line of duty while responding to a domestic violence call as a Meridian, MS Police Officer. This weekend he is being remembered in both cities.

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It was an off day for 30-year-old Kennis Croom when he heard the call for assistance with a domestic violence situation, he couldn't not help. He was shot to death in the line of duty by a man who had just shot his ex-wife and was threatening his children.

Anniversaries of the passing of loved ones are always tough, especially when they were needlessly taken away far too soon. This has been one of those difficult times for the close nit Croom family. "This week has been tough for my family," according to Kennis' sister Tamara Croom-Dudley, "But we are just comforted knowing the children that Kennis saved are doing well. They are wonderful children; they are happy and are doing well in school." The Croom family looks out for them.

The family was in Meridian MS this morning where the city unveiled a sign changing E Street to Kennis W. Croom Street. It is adjacent to the Meridian Police Department.

The Croom family returns home this afternoon to prepare for tomorrow night's inaugural "Officer Kennis Croom Memorial Scholarship Benefit Gala" at the Hotel Capstone. All net proceeds from ticket sales and auctions for the 6:00pm event will go to the Officer Kennis Croom Memorial Scholarship Fund.

WVTM-13 Morning News Anchor Rick Karle will emcee the event with former Alabama football player, author and professional golfer Ralph Stokes as the guest speaker. Entertainment will be provided by Jermaine "Funnymaine" Johnson a popular stand-up comedian from Birmingham.

The gala is being sponsored by the Croom Foundation which has a stated goal to make a difference in high crime and disadvantaged areas of north central and west Alabama. Tamara Croom-Dudley identifies the focus of the organization to get youth off the street, turn their lives around and get them into college. She says Kennis was very instrumental in helping the foundation achieve its goals. "He would volunteer his time mentoring, talking about anti-bullying and would come back to help with service to the community."

The money raised will go for two scholarships in Kennis's name. "We will be honoring two very deserving students this year and the goal is to provide $7,500.00 scholarships to each of those students," Croom-Dudley proudly reported.

Kennis' sister has no doubts, if her brother could come back again and if he was presented with the same situation, he would always choose to put the lives of those children first. That is why he is being remembered so fondly today, one year later.

Tonight's cocktail hour begins at 6:00pm with dinner at 7:00pm at Hotel Capstone.

Tickets are $200.00 each and may purchased online here.

Click here to learn more about The Croom Foundation.

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