Family of Lakeland teen who was hit and killed trying to catch school bus to donate shoes to kids

Posted at 6:08 PM, Apr 27, 2017

The Lakeland teen who got hit and killed while trying to catch the school bus would have turned 18-years-old Thursday.

But instead of grieving the loss of Kalen Kirk, his family is celebrating the occasion by donating shoes to kids in need.

“It’s just a way to keep Kalen’s legacy alive,” said Tony Kirk, his father “Just knowing through this initiative we are helping other kids and we think that’s what he would want and that’s what he would do.”

Anyone who knew Kirk knew his number one passion: shoes. His parents estimate he owned upwards of 15 pairs and always wanted the latest and coolest.

It was nearly one year ago when Kirk ran across Clubhouse Road in Lakeland in the wee hours in the morning to catch the bus.

The lack of adequate lighting is believed to have contributed to a crossing guard supervisor hitting and killing the boy.

No would blame his mother or father for going into hiding on a day like today, but they are doing quite the opposite.

They gathered at a local shoe and fitness store called Fit-Niche with 18 representatives from Polk County Schools.

They announced plans to give away more than 300 shoes to area school kids in need, through raising money and partnering with the right people like Fit-Niche Owner Rich Wills.

“I said, are you kidding me? I have like 400 pairs of like perfectly good shoes in my storage unit that have been returned by customers,” he said. “They’re just gently used.”

School administrators will help select the underprivileged kids who could use some free, designer kicks all in Kirk’s name.

“It’s just such a legacy for the family to take a tragedy in their lives and turn it around and give back to the other students,” said Diane Werrick, Dean at George Jenkins High School where Kirk attended.