HANCEVILLE, Ala. (WIAT) — Neighbors in Hanceville are rallying around a police officer who is on a ventilator battling COVID-19.
Hanceville Police Lt. Kevin Pounders has been at UAB Hospital about three weeks now.
“I would tell him to keep fighting. I’ve thought that a lot, keep fighting and don’t give up,” said Assistant Chief and long time friend Adam Hadder.
At over 6 feet tall and weighing more than 260 pounds, friends describe Kevin Pounders as larger than life.
“If you have ever seen Kevin, he makes a lasting impression on you,” Hanceville Police Chief Bob Long continued. “He is just a huge, massive body builder. Big, strong tattooed guy on his arms.”
Long and Hadder said despite Pounders’ burly appearance, he has a big heart.
“He is just a big teddy bear at heart and loves kids. Honestly, I’ve never been around any officer that loves kids more than Kevin does,” said Hadder.
Pounders is a father and Marine Corp veteran. He has been with HPD about 3 years but previously served other municipalities in Jefferson County as a law enforcement officer.
Despite all of the challenges he has faced, COVID-19 is a much different kind of enemy.
“If anybody can beat it, Kevin can. He is a fighter,” said Hadder.
Tuesday night, dozens came to a Hanceville park to light candles and pray for Pounders and his family.
“It makes you feel good to serve a community that stands behind you when times getting going rough, and for Kevin and his family right now, it couldn’t be much rougher,” said Long.
Pounders is the latest officer to be impacted by the virus that has hit other police and fire departments across the state.
“It is emotional. As police we try to be tough and gruff sometimes and hide it, but you know we’re human also and it hits home and is kind of rough, and makes you thankful for the days that you have,” said Hadder.
With uncertainty ahead, Pounders’ loved ones continue to ask for prayers.