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SHAWNEE, Kan. — When a man brutally murdered his 19-year-old daughter two decades ago, it was heartbreaking for Roger Kemp. But he took his family’s loss and made it a positive in Ali Kemp’s memory.

He started a foundation that has given free self-defense classes to thousands of women and girls.

Now, friends who became family are mourning Kemp’s sudden passing.

Tireless, passionate, kind: a few words that describe Roger Kemp who passed away at 77 years old.

“He truly was a national treasure,” said Jill Leiker, a friend and colleague.

“He entrusted me with the most special thing in his life, his daughter Ali and her legacy,” Leiker said.

They brought the Ali Kemp Educational Foundation to life after Kemp’s daughter was killed.

In 2002, the 19-year-old was beaten and strangled at a neighborhood pool in Leawood, Kansas.

“He’s taking a tragedy of losing his daughter and turned it into life-saving opportunities,” Leiker said.

More than 70,000 people, across the country, have taken this self-defense class.

“He’s a rock,” Bob Fessler said.

Kemp was innovative. When it came to catching the person responsible for Ali’s murder, he walked into Lamar Advertising asking about a billboard. It led to the arrest and conviction of Ali’s Killer.

“This is Roger. This is what I love about him. He said, ‘Well, why aren’t we doing more of these? Why aren’t we doing this for other people?'” Fessler said.

He connected with the local Crime Stoppers to put up billboards of wanted fugitives. In the first six months, Fessler said they caught eight.

“So then Roger said, this should go national,” Fessler said.

And it did. Kemp’s ingenuity has helped hundreds of people find justice.

Out of 6,000 nominees, Kemp was one of 13 chosen to receive a Presidential Citizen’s Medal, one of the highest honors a person can receive from the president.

It’s on display at the Mill Creek Activities Center.

“The worlds missing that smile,” Leiker said.

“He’s a true American hero, and when the unimaginable happened, I’ve never met another human being in my life step up and do what he did,” Jennifer Glass said.

Glass said Kemp was a hero in her life. She was part of Ali’s best friend group since middle school.

“He helped all of us get through the hardest time in his life,” Glass said.

They said Kemp left us with a life lesson: Get up, put others first and be a change maker in this world.

In the meantime, Kemp reunites with his daughter, “his angel,” Leiker said.

If you would like to sign up for a self-defense class, click here.

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