Kinston Fire Dept. blesses children of Cadet Sergeant with Christmas gifts

KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) -On Wednesday night, it was a moment of joy and happiness, for a family going through grief and pain.

The Kinston Fire Department put together a special presentation for the family of one of their own, John Palmer.

He was shot and killed back in July during a drive-by shooting on his way to work. The news of his death was gut-wrenching to his loved ones.

Palmer was a devoted father to two boys and two girls, and his overall character set him apart.

“John touched a lot of people’s hearts and that makes me feel proud because he’s a mini-me,” said Sheila Anderson, who is Palmer’s mother. “It goes to show there are good people in the world even though god takes them away.”

Anderson said that character was built during her son’s time as a Cadet Sergeant with the Explorer Post with Kinston Fire and Police. During the program, Palmer and others learned skills for careers in fire, law enforcement, and the military.

Palmer grew close with many people in the program, and Post Leader William Barss said his death doesn’t seem real.

“He took what he learned from the Explorer Post and put it into life,” Barss said. “When he was tragically killed in July, that really bothered me. First of all, it shouldn’t have happened to anyone, but to happen to such a wonderful man.”

Palmer left behind those four children, which is why Kinston Fire and Rescue collected money and Christmas gifts for them to help during this difficult time.

The kids were overjoyed and thankful, but none more than Mama Anderson.

“I want to thank you; I want to thank all your workers and I love you for being there for my son,” Anderson said. “Smiling upon him, his children, and the rest of us too. Thank you so much, thank you.”

Barss said it felt great to do something special for Palmer’s kid for Christmas. A suspect has been arrested in Palmer’s death.