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A family kept a deputy's card because of how kind he was. The next day he was shot on-duty.

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Posted at 10:15 PM, Aug 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-16 22:36:39-04

SCOTTS, Mich. — A chance encounter with a fawn Friday night, left a small crack in Jennifer Nichols’ rental car and marked a stressful start to the weekend.

“This is gonna be a huge bill, oh no,” Nichols thought to herself. “My husband's like, just pull over, he was getting mad at me because I didn't quickly pull over, so I pulled over and he's like call 911 we got to get a report.’

Jennifer called the police and to the family’s delight, the deputy who showed up helped ease the tension, with a welcoming smile and kind demeanor.

“I apologized for him having to come out to deal with such a small thing and he said no it's okay. I told him I felt bad and he made sure we were all okay, just a really sweet demeanor about him,” Nichols explained.

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Jennifer Nichols and daughter with Dep. Ryan Proxmire's card

He left such an impact the family kept his card, the name on it now sadly familiar to West Michigan, Deputy Ryan Proxmire.

Just a day after Proxmire met the Nichols’ family on the side of a Kalamazoo County road, he was shot by a suspect during a chase that ended near their home.

The Nichols family heard the sirens Saturday and the news Sunday.

“My husband called and said, ‘did you hear any more about last night? and I started start scrolling through Facebook and I was like, whoa. That's when i got my wallet and I was like, hold on a second, I told them it was the deputy that came and helped us that was shot,” Nichols explained.

Proxmire’s card now a tragic reminder of the fragility of life, but one they won’t forget. The card will be staying in Jennifer’s wallet every time she’s on the road.

“I've had to teach my kids this lesson because they were in the car with us that, the officer that helped us he also tried to help others and lost his life doing it.” Nichols explained. “It's pretty tough and so we want to keep the card to just kind of as a reminder that there's good people out there doing things they need to do to help us.”

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