Kelly Baker is the widow of Santa Cruz Police Department Detective Sergeant Loran 'Butch' Baker. On February 26, 2013, Kelly's husband was shot and killed in the line of duty, while he was pursuing a misdemeanor sexual assault case. Butch and Kelly were childhood sweethearts and met when they were 10 and 11 years old. They were married for 22 years and Butch could have retired a year before he was killed.
Kelly is a mother of two children. Her daughter is an RN, BSN working in the Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit at Duke University Hospital in North Carolina. Kelly's son was working as a Community Service Officer, when he heard the radio traffic of his father's death. Her son attended the WCPR Retreat and was able to separate his father's death from his job he loved at the police department. He is pursuing his career in law enforcement and graduates from the Police Academy in May 2015.
The SOS Retreat is something Kelly holds dear to her heart and strongly believes in the program. 'I was told they couldn't do anything for the grief or pain of losing my husband, but they could provide me with tools to help me deal with the stress, which then could be passed along to my family. Prior to my retreat's attendance, I was stuck in the fight or flight mode of my healing progress. Daily, I was bombarded with situations and issues surrounding my husband's death. No one can ever prepare for their husband's death, especially in such a traumatic way. It was easier for me to fight than to feel, but I knew of the importance of allowing pain into my heart. I know when and how Butch died was never my decision to make. Butch loved his job and I never doubted he was doing exactly what he wanted to be doing, when he was killed. After the retreat, I felt my husband's death differently. The grief was much stronger, but I was able to handle things I was unable to face or deal with prior to the retreat. The retreat was truly a gift to my soul.'
Since her husband's death, Kelly has acted as a role model within the police community and lauded for her strength and support of the police officers and their families. Kelly spoke at the California Police Chiefs Women Leaders in Law Enforcement Training Symposium on how she healed from her husband's death and the support she received from the First Responders Network. She specifically spoke about her experience with the SOS Retreat and how it helped her and her family heal from the trauma.
Kelly volunteers as a Spousal and Significant Others (SOS) Peer.