Gallant act recognizes one man as 'Citizen of the Year'
Kirkland pursued a drunk hit and run driver, Michael C. Ettipio, 23, after observing him crash into 14-year-old Bryce Buchholz of Elma while he was riding his bicycle home May 3. Kirkland followed Ettipio to his residence, confronted him in his driveway, placed him in his car, and then brought him back to the scene.
“My son was tragically killed and if it wasn’t for one man, we might still be fighting to find out who did it,” remarked Bill Buchholz, Bryce’s father. “What he did, I’m sure a lot [of us] might not have or would have done.”
Just by one look at Kirkland’s face, spectators could see the honor he felt when Buchholz presented the award to him.
“Honestly, it feels good,” said Kirkland. “I would rather have Bryce back. I’m not a hero. I just did what God had me do.”
Kirkland said he wants to place the plaque in the future skate park, which will be built to honor Bryce’s memory.
“It would be a real honor to feel a part of it,” remarked Kirkland. “He’s was a very good kid who was real respectful.”
Ending with one last statement, Buchholz encouraged those at the parade and those who may see Kirkland in their neighborhoods to be sure to shake his hand.
“He’s a true citizen. I’m glad you guys have him,” said Buchholz.
Contributing to this story, Kristie Schiefer, Lancaster Intern