Trooper Nicholas Dees was a name unknown to most Oklahomans until an accident took his life in January. Now, his name lives on as an example of texting and driving dangers.
Six months after his death, his wife, Brandi Dees, speaks for the first time about his life and legacy.
Whether at home in sweatpants with his two little girls or on patrol in his perfectly pressed uniform, Dees knew her husband was loved.
"He has an amazing heart. He loves people," Brandi Dees said. "I always say he'd be friends with a tree."
That comfort in who Nick Dees was makes everything a little easier for her.
"His faith was very important," she said. "I promise you I know where he's at right now."
Nick Dees is no longer able meet his family at Mazzio's during his lunch break. He's no longer able to take his daughters, Claire and Piper, to piano lessons and live his dreams of being a father.
"He loved those girls," she said.
Nick Dees was a second generation Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper.
"He was meant to be a trooper," Brandi Dees said. "From the moment I met him, he was going to be trooper. I knew that."
Brandi and Nick Dees also knew that every day he put on that uniform, the unexpected could happen at any moment.
"If he would have known that this was going to happen, I believe he still would have done the same job," Brandi Dees said.
That's because on that night, just four hours after Brandi Dees spoke to her husband on the phone, he was killed in the line of duty.
Dash cam video from that night captures Nick Dees' final moments as he and his partner Keith Burch inspect a jack- knifed semi on I-40 in Seminole County.
When the camera goes black, that's when a distracted driver drove straight through emergency lights and hit the two troopers, seriously injuring Burtch and killing Nick Dees. Not long after, Brandi Dees and her family woke to a knock on her door.
"We were all kind of in shock. And then you don't know what to do," Brandi Dees remembers. "There's nothing you can do."
Days later, all those people Nick Dees loved showed their love. Thousands poured into Broken Bow to lay the fallen hero to rest. Then, Brandi Dees knew there was something she could do.
"I'm not angry that I'm holding resentment, I just feel it could have been prevented," she said. "Maybe we can save someone else's life. Someone else won't have to lose their father."
So Brandi Dees worked with lawmakers relentlessly and, in less than four months, she accomplished what lawmakers had been trying to do for years. Effective November 1, texting and driving will be banned in Oklahoma thanks to a law honoring Butch and Nick Dees.
"We did a good thing that day," she said. "He was a normal person, a dad and a husband. He was our hero. We loved him."
And now with this law, Nick Dees' watch will never truly end.