Kervin Stewart was an Army brat, but he found his purpose when he was visiting his grandparents in Mississippi.
“I heard a patrol car coming down the road, and I ran outside,” Stewart said. “I saw a state trooper going by with his lights and sirens on, and I remember looking up at my grandmother and saying, ‘That’s what I’m gonna do one day.’ She said, ‘Well, you probably will, but right now you gotta do what I told you to do.’”
His desire to become a state trooper did not stop after he declared his plans to his grandmother. Stewart followed in his father’s footsteps and served in the U.S. Army for 20 years. In 2006, he joined the Mississippi Highway Patrol, and, more recently, in 2018 he accepted the job as a public affairs officer for Troop C based in Pearl, Miss.
“When I looked at the public affairs job, I saw it as an opportunity to get out here and put a positive message out about the highway patrol,” Stewart said.
He said it is his job to keep people informed, but there is no hesitation when you ask Stewart about his passion. He undoubtedly will say, “safety.”
“Doing what we do, unfortunately, sometimes people get hurt,” he said. “I don’t like when people get hurt, and I definitely don’t like going to people’s houses to notify them that one of their family members or more may not be coming home because of something that happened that could have been prevented.”
Stewart uses his platform to speak to students of all ages about safety, including at colleges. He also has the opportunity to speak to the working people at different businesses about road safety traveling to and from work.
“Being in the position I am in, it gives me the opportunity to speak to people and give them some guidance and influence,” he said.
Stewart, 52, is married with one son and cannot imagine his life any different.
“I have always wanted to be a state trooper,” he said.
His hard work and dedication to his state landed him a high honor. In 2012, Stewart was awarded Mississippi State Trooper of the Year.
“I never expected it,” he said.
Each of the state’s nine districts plus headquarters nominates a trooper for the award. The ten nominees then go to a state board where a winner is chosen.
Stewart’s nomination came from an unexpected event and from an even more unexpected person. Stewart was helping his friend’s grandmother move when they witnessed a head-on collision. One of the cars was engulfed with flames. Even though he was off duty, Stewart and his friend sprang into action.
“You could say we saved that man’s life,” he said. “I ended up getting to him and put the fire out that was all over him. Then, I got him somewhere safe.”
Stewart did not think anything of the incident, he just saw it as doing his job and fulfilling his duty. He had no idea that moment would lead to him being nominated for Trooper of the Year.
“We were actually in Alabama,” Stewart said, “and my supervisor told me that the Alabama State Trooper that was on the scene of the accident actually wrote the letter recognizing what we had done.”
That moment, along with many other memorable moments, is what landed Stewart the high honor.
Each day in the life of a state trooper is different, but Stewart handles each day with honor and dignity.
“You never know what you will encounter day-to-day,” he said. “One thing about this job, when you think you’ve seen it all something else comes along.”