BROOKHAVEN, MS (WLBT) - At the age of 17, James White told his parents that he wanted to join the military.
His mother Laurie White says at 17 she had to give written permission for him to join.
“I mean if we didn’t sign, he was going to do it when he turned 18, so we just went ahead and done it,” White said.
So, he enlisted.
“I worried everyday, I prayed every day,” she said.
White, who the family calls Kevin, was deployed to Afghanistan during Operation Iraqi Freedom. On May 17th, 2005 Mrs. White received call from her son.
“I said son what’s wrong? He said mama, I’m ok,” she said.
He had been injured in an explosion for which he received a Purple Heart. He could have come home but he stayed.
“He would not leave his group over there without him,” added White.
After White ended his 17 years of service with the military...he still wanted to serve but this time as an officer.
“And I asked him, son, can you find something else to do," she said. “Nope, that’s where his heart was. He felt like it was his calling.”
Then he said something to his mother that she still holds on to this day.
“He told me, mama if I ever die in the line of duty, know that I died doing what I loved,” she recalled.
Early Saturday morning, September 29, police received reports of shots fired. Patrolman James White and Cpl. Zach Moak responded.
“When my phone rung at 6:32 AM on Saturday morning it was his daddy calling and I said hello. He didn’t say nothing. I said hello again. And he said Laurie, Kevin’s been shot and he didn’t make it,” Mrs. White said with tears in her eyes.
She says she jumped out of the bed and went into shock.
Steve White is his stepfather, he remembered the night clearly.
“When she hung up the phone, I said what’s wrong. She just had a shocked look on her face and she just said Kevin’s gone and that’s all she could say,” he said.
Elizebeth Howell was White's fiance.
“If he was talking about law enforcement he didn’t have a smile on his face 9 times out of 10, but you get him home and he was a big goofball," Howell said with a big smile on her face.
When asked what Officer White would want for his family his sister Lisa had this to say.
“I don’t think he would want us to be sad, because sad wasn’t a part of who he was,” she said.
Then she looked out the window as though she was trying to imagine what that would be like.