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Kent Police describe profound impact Mike Buckingham had on people
Kent Police issued the following media release Monday about the profound impact Mike Buckingham had on people during his more than 30 years on the Kent Police Drinking Driver Task Force. Buckingham died Jan. 2 at age 61 from cancer:
Former Washington State Patrol Trooper Mike Buckingham lost his battle with cancer and peacefully passed away surrounded by his loved ones. Mike had a profound impact on the lives in and around the Kent Police Department.
He was instrumental in establishing and serving on the Kent Police Department’s Drinking Driver Task Force for over 30 years. He joined the task force as a board member in 1983, and in 2001 he was hired part time as a program assistant to the committee. He also received the Distinguished Service Award from MADD, in 2001.
Mike developed the Kent Traffic School in 2005 and later became its coordinator. He also made a lasting impact as a youth board member and as an active participant with the “Gift of Life” program, put on by the Kent Regional Fire Authority.
Mike’s impact and influence on those he came into contact with cannot be truly measured, but it can be respected and cherished. His determination and commitment to life prompted the Washington State Patrol to establish the Mike Buckingham award. This award celebrates the survival of Washington State Patrol employees who have been involved in critical incidents, resulting in physical injury. The award serves as a tribute to the men and women who have gone above and beyond the call of duty by selflessly placing the safety of others ahead of their own.
Mike was medically retired from the State Patrol after a fiery on duty crash in 1981 that occurred between his patrol vehicle and an impaired driver that he was pursuing. He suffered extensive burns and disfigurement all over his body as a result. Mike was never able to return to active duty with the State Patrol as he wished, but instead focused his dedication to public speaking, educating the public on traffic safety and impaired driving issues as well as the devastating consequences often related to impaired driving.
His life has been an inspiration to many and he believed that whether you are a commissioned Police Officer, a public safety professional, or an average citizen, everyone has the ability in some way to make an impact and help prevent needless impaired driving related injuries and deaths.
“Mike Buckingham defined what it meant to give selflessly and live graciously," said Kent Police Sgt. Jarod Kasner. "He leaves an incredible legacy that will impact all that had the privilege of being in his presence for many years to come."
It is well known around the city of Kent as well as the Kent Police Department that Mike was a tremendous man who truly touched thousands of lives.
• Service on Thursday: Mike's life will be celebrated at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 16 at New Life Church, 15711 152nd Ave. S.E., in Renton. At the family’s request, contributions in Mike’s honor can be made to a charity of your choice.