Bishop Brossart grad Taylor Koch overcame homelessness and started family, but life cut short

Koch, boyfriend and 2 children killed in crash

ALEXANDRIA, Ky. -- Taylor Koch and Brandon Lawson didn't make a lot of money working at a fast-food chicken restaurant. But they made enough to take care of their family.

Getting rich wasn't a priority for Koch, Alexandria Police Chief Mike Ward said. Her family was her focus, if only for a short time.

"I remember her telling me that the one thing she wanted to be in her life was a good mom to her children -- a mom that she had wished that she had. And, she was. She was a good mom to those kids," he said.

Koch, Lawson, and their young children -- Brendan Lawson, 21 months, and Isabella Lawson, 6 months -- all died in a crash last week on Alexandria Pike. Sharon Groves, 74, also died; she was a passenger in another car.

 

Ward and his family were devastated. Koch came into their lives about four years ago, during her senior year at Bishop Brossart High School. She was bounced from foster home to foster home as a child, but she aged out of the system. When Ward met her, Koch was sleeping in a booth at the local McDonald's because she had nowhere to live.

One night that October, Ward's youngest daughter bolted out of the house. She returned about an hour later with Koch.

"She kind of looked at me and said, 'Well, Dad, this is what the Lord would do, and that’s what we’re going to do. We're not going to let her sleep at McDonald's,'" he recalled.

Koch was struggling: She didn't know what was next and thought about dropping out of school. Ward's family supported her through her senior year; Koch helped around the house. Ward said she was "very much a city girl" but wasn't afraid to try new things. She rode horses; he remembered the fun times they had at the barn. She celebrated Christmas with the Ward family, and they celebrated her graduation.

"Every time she would get kicked down, she would forgive the people, pick herself up and just be an inspiration actually to help people," teacher Janet Johnson said.

After high school, she met Lawson working at KFC. They weren't going to become rich, Ward said, but they worked hard. Lawson had been promoted from cook to assistant manager, which meant a little more money for the growing family.

"That’s one thing we don't see a lot of today," Ward said. "We see a lot of people wanting to get something for nothing, and I didn't see that in them. They did at times have to ask people for help, and they did, and people stepped up to help them when it was appropriate. But it was for the right reasons."

Brossart is a small community -- a family of its own, Ward said. He's an alumnus; when he couldn't afford Koch's senior-year tuition, someone else paid. Someone even covered the expenses for Koch's cap and gown. To this day, Ward has no idea who it was. 

"It's an amazing community. It's a tight community. It's a Catholic community.  It's just people help people around here, and that's what Taylor liked to do," Johnson said.

The Brossart family was determined the help bury Koch and her young family. The costs were expected to be about $1,600, so some teachers put together a GoFundMe account. By Tuesday afternoon, it had raised more than $5,000. Burial is Saturday at St. Mary's Cemetery. Any money left after bills are paid will go toward the Women's Crisis Center in Covington, where Koch often turned for support.

Ward said he'd do whatever he can to help Koch and her family.

"They lived together, they died together, and they will be buried together," he said. "I think that is important."

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