One life taken, countless others changed

Members of the 2014-15 Kentucky Kernel staff pose for a picture at a Christmas party. Former photo editor Jonathan Krueger is pictured in the middle, sporting a hat and holding up the peace sign.

Editorial Staff

Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of the day we lost a member of the Kentucky Kernel family.

For Kernel staff, and those close to Jonathan Krueger, it seems like just yesterday.

The former photo editor was shot and killed at about 2 a.m. April 17, 2015, while he was walking home with his friend Aaron Gillette on East Maxwell Street.

Looking back on the day we lost him brings up so many emotions. We were sad because we lost someone we loved. We were angry because he was taken from us in such a violent manner. We were confused because we wondered how such a brutal act could end the life of such a kind, warm-hearted 22-year-old. 

His friends and family describe him as someone who lived life to the fullest. He embodied and embraced the “YOLO” mentality.

This life philosophy applied to his personal life and to his work ethic. On several occasions last year, he saved the newspaper with last-minute expeditions to take front-page photos. Newsrooms can be hectic, but Krueger always knew how to bring us back down to earth. 

When humor seemed far away, he rode into the office on his bicycle with a smile on his face.  When we were tired, he always came to the rescue with his seemingly never-ending supply of Red Bull.

A paper still hangs on the wall nominating Krueger as the best office DJ. Whether it was Bob Marley or “Sugar” by Maroon 5, he chose tunes to which Kernel editors could sing along.  

As his friends, coworkers and fraternity brothers graduate and move on from UK, Krueger’s legacy will live on through the memorial scholarship established in his name. The scholarship gives $1,000 per semester to a Kernel photographer who displays qualities of a leader.

Krueger was taken from this life at far too early an age, and his loved ones will always feel the void his charming personality filled. His spirit will live on through the people who learned to live life to the fullest, just as he did.

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