EL CAJON - Kiera Larsen’s grandfather has an engraved marker in front of his house in El Cajon. It features a butterfly, her name, dates of her birth and death, and this: Angel in Heaven, Hero on Earth, Forever in our Hearts.
Preben Larsen also has portraits of Kiera on his front wall. She is never far from his thoughts; he said he often talks to her. "Tell her how much we love and miss her."
Kiera, 10, died on February 22 last year; crushed by the family SUV that started rolling downhill in front of their home in Lakeside. She pushed two younger friends safely out of the way at the cost of her own life.
Kiera's heroism was recognized with a California Senate proclamation. Blossom Valley Elementary dedicated the yearbook to her. A Carnegie Hero medal is being cast in her honor.
And there's a personal letter from then-President Barack Obama.
Preben read from it, "Michelle and I were saddened to learn of you loss of your daughter, Kiera. While words cannot match your sorrow, I hope you find comfort in knowing that Kiera's spirit will live on in you and those who mourn with you. Your family will remain in our thoughts, Sincerely, the Obamas."
These are cherished mementos. "I've got most of these hanging up on the wall in there so I can look at them every day with her picture."
It all makes him extremely proud. "It does. Very proud."