Loved ones gather for procession in honor of officer who died after COVID battle

KINGS MOUNTAIN, N.C. — Loved ones are gathering Friday morning to honor the life of a beloved Kings Mountain police officer who died following a battle with COVID-19.

Officer Carl Proper died on Sept. 17 after several weeks in the hospital.

On a GoFundMe set us to help with medical and family expenses, Proper’s wife, Sonya, detailed the highs and lows of his battle, which included pneumonia and, at times, signs of a possible recovery.

Family and friends of Proper gathered at 10 a.m. for his funeral at the Woodlawn Funeral Home. The service was followed by an eight-mile procession down North Carolina Highway 273 in Mount Holly and Belmont.

Channel 9 visited the Kings Mountain Police Department where ribbons adorned a patrol SUV often driven by Proper, who was a K-9 officer.

“We don’t always understand the decisions the Lord makes because all of us were praying for a miracle for Carl, and we actually thought we were going to get it earlier in the week,” KMPD Chief Lisa Proctor said. “When the Lord made the decision to call him home, it’s a hard decision for us to understand ... but I know that as Jeremiah 29:11 says, that God has a plan for us and His plan is perfect.”

Officer Carl Proper with KMPD Chief Lisa Proctor.

Proctor was on the hiring board in 2018 when Proper joined the department. He’d previously served in law enforcement since 2005.

“He just impressed me from the moment he walked in the room,” she said. “So much so that as a regular patrol officer he would volunteer and spend hundreds and hundreds of hours on his own time going with our K-9 officers to train and learn on his own.”

Proctor described Proper’s work as a K-9 officer as his dream. His K-9 partner was named Bronco, and Proctor said the two were inseparable.

“I can only imagine the loss that I feel as his chief, but not only as chief, as his friend,” Proctor said. “Kings Mountain -- we are a smaller department and we are very tightknit group, a family-oriented department. When one of us hurts, we all hurt.”

In a statement, Proper’s wife told Channel 9 that her husband was a loving son, brother, husband and most of all, a father of three. She said he was always the life of the party and looked for ways to make the world laugh.

“It’s just one of those things that, Carl would tell us to keep going,” Proctor said. “Keep holding the line, keep doing what we’re supposed to do for our community and for our families and we just know that he is shining down on us, watching us as we do so.”

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