Brandy Corum isn’t your average police department chief.
“Given my situation, I can bring a different outlook,” explained Corum, the Police Chief at the Sarcoxie Police Department.
Her job is to protect and serve the Sarcoxie community, put her personal mission is to help kids.
“I do a lot of our kid stuff here,” Corum continued. “As far as juvenile offenses, our kid crimes — I handle a lot of that. That’s just what I wanna do.”
That desire stems from before her career in law enforcement even began. It was January 16th, 2016 — the worst day of Corum’s life.
“Both of my kiddos unfortunately passed away due to their dad. It was a double-homicide suicide,” said Corum.
Tony Kernel, 55, killed the two young children — before turning the gun on himself inside their Jasper County home.
“Wesley was 9 at the time, Timber was 7,” Corum explained.
The kids were both students at Steadly Elementary in Carthage.
“I left, he didn’t like it. We were going to go to court that following Tuesday, and he knew the odds were stacked against him and that’s what happened.”
Their death rocked the community. But now, Corum wants to make better memories for that fateful anniversary.
“I actually started it during their funeral, really,” said Corum.
She asked people to bring, not tears, but toys…
“My son loved to build things like legos.”
“My daughter, she loved dolls.”
“My son’s favorite book was Max, and my daughter’s was Little Red Hen.”
All to be donated to local children’s organizations and law enforcement agencies — who helped her get through the tragedy.
“Say if we roll up on a domestic and there’s a kiddo there, or a car accident, we have something to hand out to them, so they’re not afraid of us,” Corum explained.
It’s called “Timber & Wesley’s Toy Drive” — a tradition she’s continuing this year.
“This is my way of showing my gratitude for that. And helping others at the same time, as people helped me whenever I needed it,” said Corum.
If you’d like to donate toys, books, stuffed animals or clothes to “Timber & Wesley’s Toy Drive,” there are several drop-off locations. For more information about the drive, click here to view its Facebook page.
The drive will continue until donation day on January 16th — the anniversary of their death.