Airman's legacy lives on
By Airman 1st Class Samantha Saulsbury
/ Published December 16, 2013
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- A crowd sits quietly on a bitterly cold December night with family and friends gathered to remember the memory of a young, passionate man who had his life robbed from him.
"I just want to thank all of you for coming out," Craig Mansfield, Kris's father said quietly while holding back tears at the annual tree- lighting ceremony.
Senior Airman Kristopher Mansfield, a former 460th Space Communications Squadron Airman, was only 23 years old when a drunk driver struck his motorcycle on Sept. 4, 2004. He died in the hospital two days later.
"Every year, the 460th SCS honors the memory of Senior Airman Kristopher G. Mansfield by hosting a tree-lighting ceremony on Buckley," said Lt. Col. Wells, Commander of the 460th SCS.
The tree sits stoically outside the communications building and is decorated ever year for Christmas in celebration of his life and what he meant to the squadron.
"No matter what I do, he will never return," Mansfield said. "This gives me the power to try and prevent others from being dragged into a crime that is preventable."
Mr. Mansfield and Julie Legg, Kris's mother, are both very vocal advocates against drunk driving. Their continued efforts at Buckley and the surrounding community highlight the importance of not drinking and driving.
"Craig's and Julie's commitment and dedication to the Buckley Against Drunk Driving program as well as educating the community to reduce drinking and driving is phenomenal," said Wells.
Urging others to be aware of how much they're drinking and emphasizing the high importance of having a plan in place, Mansfield continuously emphasizes the importance of playing it safe, especially during the holidays.
You are too valuable to yourself, your family, your friends and your community," Mansfield stressed. "Stay where you are or call for a ride."
Any member of Team Buckley that ever needs a ride can call Buckley Against Drunk Driving at 720-847-RIDE (7433)