BAYTOWN, Texas — While holding her son Pearce on her parents’ porch in Baytown, Jessie Knapp Jenkins sat in a spot that used to be her husband's favorite.
Jessie said Michael Jenkins loved the wooden swing at the house.
Michael dedicated his life to helping others. But, his life was cut short.
Jessie said her husband was killed after being hit by a car that ran a red light. Crews at the scene tried to save him, but on the Life Flight ride to the hospital, Michael died. It all happened two days before Father’s Day. He was 31 old.
Jessie said she and Michael fell in love in Baytown and Michael fell in love with helping this community.
“Michael was the person who never stopped to consider what he needed. He was always worried about everyone else. The person that wrote the speeches, the person that made phone calls until well past midnight to make sure that they had enough chicken at a fundraiser to make sure that the homeless people were fed,” Jessie said.
Most recently, Michael worked for a nonprofit in Houston, but before that, he was a District Director for House District 23 (Chambers and Galveston counties) helping people in the Houston area receive COVID benefits and doing other things behind the scenes.
District 23 State Rep. Mayes Middleton shared this statement with KHOU 11 News:
"Michael worked for me for nearly five years and every day he woke up with a Christian servant's heart to help others. He was one of the kindest, most caring people I have ever met, and helped countless people in Galveston and Chambers Counties — from assisting people who lost their homes after flooding in tropical storms to helping so many get help with unemployment in the COVID shutdown, to helping small businesses open, and being there for many others that reached out to him as a last resort for whatever problems they were having. He was a loving father to Pearce and husband to Jessie and always was a wonderful dad through it all. I have heard from hundreds of people whose lives he touched and so many I had no idea he had helped until now. We were all blessed to know him and we all grieve in his tragic loss, but I know his legacy of servant leadership will live on forever."
And Michael did it all while serving his family at home.
“We were so excited. We had just bought a new house a few weeks ago," Jessie said.
On Friday, near their new home in the Bear Creek area, Michael was struck and killed.
“He was just coming home to celebrate an early Father’s Day lunch with us," Jessie said.
That's when she got the call that changed her life forever.
“I said, ‘This is ... that’s my husband … that’s my husband Michael. Who is this? And why do you have his phone?’ She says, ‘Ma’am, I need you to calm down but your husband was in a really bad car accident,” Jessie said.
“And Pearce never understood why his father didn’t come home for lunch," she said.
And now, Pearce and Jessie, who gave up her own career to stay at home, are left searching for answers.
“He keeps asking, ‘Where Dada? Where Dada?’" she said. “He’s 21 months old … this week he’ll be 21 months old."
She wants the community to know the man who helped so many.
“I want people to understand how much he truly impacted,” Jessie said.
This Father’s Day, she wants everyone to know the difference her husband made even when no one was watching.
“I want people to know how important he was and how much he loved his son," Jessie said.