RICHMOND, Ky. (LEX 18) — Katie Ellis DeSimone says the pain never truly goes away, but the days are a little easier to manage. Six years ago, her husband, Richmond Police Officer Daniel Ellis, was shot and killed in the line of duty.
“I’m thankful for the few years that we did get to spend together,” she said from her office inside Madison Central High School, where she works as Assistant Principal.
Katie has a busy weekend coming up. Hundreds plan to run in the Officer Daniel Ellis Memorial 5K run on Saturday in Richmond. And this year’s event takes on added significance.
“When fall came around, and I had to pick a fall date (to run the race), what are the odds that the ‘end of watch’ fell on the first Saturday of November,” she said of the anniversary date of Daniel’s passing. It happened on November 6, 2015.
The race had been held in the spring from 2016 until 2019, when COVID interrupted those plans, shifting it to the fall in each of the last two years.
The police department complex in Richmond is named for Ellis, along with a stretch of highway in Madison County. Flags have been lowered outside the department, and the cruiser Ellis drove is parked in plain sight.
“It affected the community as much as it affected the department,” said Chief Rodney Richardson. “Daniel was a great guy, he treated people the right way, and when you miss somebody like that, you really miss him,” Richardson continued.
Chief Richardson said he has never missed one of the five previous races and has no plans to miss any in the future.
“He gave his life, gave the ultimate sacrifice. It’s good for all of us to come together in an event like that,” Richardson said of the race.
Katie has received more support over the years than she could’ve imagined, and much more than others in her situation have been offered.
“I have been connected to other widows of similar situations, and I can’t say this is the response they’ve all felt,” she stated.
Katie organizes this memorial run each year, and as she is gathering the names of the entrants, she still can’t believe it.
“I just stand in awe every race day of all the people who come out to support us,” she said.
Chief Richardson still stands in awe of the legacy his former co-worker of many years left behind.
“He is greatly missed. (He) will always be missed, and there’s no one who could take his place,” he said.