A newborn baby girl honored her firefighter father in an emotional photo shoot that came just nine months after he was tragically killed in a car accident.
Brett Korves was only 30 years old when he was fatally struck by an oncoming driver on his way to work on April 4, 2019, Good Morning America reported.
The firefighter — who had spent the last 10 years working for the Swansea Fire Department in Swansea, Illinois — shared a 2-year-old son named Brock with his wife Alex Korves, whose pregnancy was not clear at the time of Brett’s death.
Speaking to GMA, Alex described the life they had together, which instantly changed because of a driver speeding at 94 miles per hour.
“We had our son, we had our house, we were doing everything the right way,” Alex told GMA. “It will be hard for [our family] the rest of our lives.”
Two weeks after that devastating day, Alex learned that she was pregnant with their second child — and faced raising their baby without her husband.
“Freaking out” amid the shock, Alex experienced mixed feelings about the birth: the soon-to-be mother of two was “excited to have just one more piece of Brett,” she recalled to GMA, but also “very nervous to do this by myself.”
On Dec. 12, Alex and Brett’s baby girl finally arrived. In a touching tribute to her late husband, Alex named their newborn daughter Brett Grace Korves.
That same month, Brett’s siblings, Todd Korves and Kayla Bishop, set up a foundation called Brett’s First Responders. The group focuses on assisting families of first responders who were not injured in the line of duty, like Brett. They also work with the community to develop scholarship programs for those looking to become firefighters.
“Our brother was very involved in many things and would help any person out at the drop of a hat,” the organization’s Facebook description reads. “We want to carry on his legacy by helping out others in our community.”
Shortly after the firefighter died, Sugarfoot Photography owner Samantha Kallal learned about the heartbreaking story in her community. Wanting to help the family, Kallal reached out to Alex and offered to do a free newborn photo shoot for Brett Grace.
Alex agreed, and together, the pair decided to take the photos at the place where Brett spent so much of his time: the Swansea Firehouse.
Adding an even sweeter touch to their idea, Alex and Kallal invited all of Brett’s colleagues to join, including his father, fire department lieutenant Jack Korves.
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“I wanted to do anything I could to help them,” Kallal, who specializes in photographing newborns, told GMA. “We expected two or three guys to show up, and then we would just take a couple of quick pictures before going to my studio.”
However, on that morning, Alex and Kallal were in for a major surprise when more than 20 of Brett’s colleagues arrived to take the photos with little Brett Grace.
“We showed up and 26 of them were there, smiling and ready to go,” Kallal told the outlet. “I figured we were onto something special.”
She was right, as the touching shots have quickly circulated around the internet, showing Brett Grace — wrapped in a white blanket with a matching headband — snoozing on her father’s firefighter jacket, his helmet nearby.
Other photos showed the baby girl lovingly held by her big brother on the back of a firetruck — complete with his firefighter pants and shirt — and in grandfather’s arms as Brock and Brett’s smiling colleagues surround them. (Kallal noted on Facebook that Brock was holding his sister with the assistance of his mother Alex, but that she was removed in editing.)
As the photos continue to go viral, Alex told GMA that they represent how their daughter has a strong support system behind her as she grows up without her dad.
“I just want Brett Grace to realize that even though her father has passed,” she explained to GMA, “she has all this outpouring support from all these men, too.”