One Year Later: Missy Leggio on life after her husband's death

Posted at 5:19 PM, Oct 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-12 20:31:38-04

The day before 43-year-old KCFD firefighter Larry Leggio died, his wife Missy made pizza on their grill. She hasn’t since.

“We’d bicker back and forth on what to put on it and how long to keep it on the grill,” remembered Missy. “I would want cheese, mushroom and olive. He would want Italian sausage, pepperoni and everything. Jalapenos. Toppings would weigh the pizza down.”

When asked who would win the battle, her answer: both. “We would compromise. We would do half and half.”

Missy has been working on figuring out life on her own without her other half as the waves of “firsts” keep coming.

“First holidays. Everybody’s gone through their first birthday without him. We’ve done Larry’s birthday, wedding anniversary and now we’re hitting the last first. The first anniversary of him being gone,” said Missy from her Northeast home she shared with Larry.

Larry Leggio was killed along with 39-year-old fellow firefighter John Mesh on October 12, 2015, when a wall collapsed while they battled an arson fire on Independence Avenue.

Every direction you turn in the home is some form of a memorial to the firefighter that lived there, from his KCFD jacket and gear hanging in cabinetry by the dining room table, a condolence letter from the President of the United States to the left of the living room couch, to the image of the deadly fire that Missy herself captured just moments before her husband’s death.

Missy was coming home from the grocery store when she saw the fire and felt compelled to go to it.

An image of the fire taken by Missy Leggio that hangs in her home. 

“He was going to come home in the morning and I could show him all the video and we can talk about the guys, ‘Man we made it through that one,’ but I didn’t realize it would be documenting his last moments,” said Missy.

Missy said in many ways, Larry is still with her.

“When I drive his truck, I feel him. When I cook in the kitchen we [built] together and some of his friends put that kitchen in, I feel him,” said Missy.

Photos and commemorations hanging in Missy Leggio's home.

On KCFD policy changes following Larry Leggio’s death

Missy said she appreciates the new policies enacted by the fire department after her husband’s death.

“Watching [them battle fires] and knowing that they’re fighting in defensive mode and not being able to go in because of collapse zones and because of the injuries and the danger it puts them in I do recognize that,” said Missy. “But I know those boys want to go in and fight that fire, but I know their lives and their families mean way too much.”

On the upcoming trial

Missy hasn’t missed a court appearance of Thu Hong Nguyen, the woman accused of murdering her husband.

“I’m not missing a day. I want to be there for him. I know the Meshs believe the same thing,” said Missy.

Nguyen’s trial is scheduled for April.

“She took something from all of us. Maybe not on purpose did she kill Larry and John and injure others, but her decision, she made a bad decision and she needs to pay for that," Missy said. "Whether it was greed or selfishness or to make herself better, she made all of us feel horrible and lose something that we valued so much: family. She stole from us.”



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