BY JEFF CLARK
It’s been slightly more than a month since Columbus Public Works Director Mike Pratt died suddenly from natural causes at his Southside apartment at 720 3rd Avenue South. Pratt left behind his wife, Kim, and sons Ryan and Stephen. Although the business of the city and life in general has continued, Kim Pratt said she and her family are also trying to pick up the pieces in the wake of the tragedy.
“I tell people I feel like I’m on a bipolar roller coaster — you have these great, unbelievable days and then you just crash because he’s not there,” Kim Pratt said. “It’s been the longest month of my life. I just didn’t know a month could be that long. Mike called me every morning to say hello and ask me what I was going to do for the day. I missed one of those calls and Mike left me a message. I listen to it every day and I tell him what I’m going to do that day.”
Kim Pratt was in Columbus recently to visit friends and to offer thanks to residents of the Friendly City for their kindness after her husband’s death.
“What got us through all of this was this town,” she said. “There are certain people in this town — I have written so many thank you notes but there are so many people whose names I don’t even know. Somebody did the roses for the funeral — I don’t know who did that. But so many of Mike’s friends were there for us. Amber Brislin was in the middle of setting up for Market Street and she set up the scholarship for the boys and she did so many things for us.
Susan Mackay took time from her business and time from her campaign to help me. She would go back to work at night to fill orders. She held my hand and took me to every single place I had to be. I didn’t know where to go or what to do. Nancy and Carol Carpenter brought us so much food and they were so helpful and kind to us.”
Kim Pratt said some city officials also helped her family during their time of need.
“Mayor Robert Smith got the Trotter for us and he did the proclamation making May 2 Mike Pratt Day,” Kim Pratt said. “(Columbus Police Department) Chief McQueen and (Columbus Fire and Rescue) Chief Moore set up the honor guard for us. Mike was a veteran and we offered a military honor guard, but Mike would rather have had his friends do it.”
Kim Pratt and her sons currently reside in Bartlett, Tenn., a suburb of Memphis. The Pratt family had been making the trip back and forth during the duration of Pratt’s time with the city. Kim Pratt said they were actually looking to buy a home on the Southside in the Historic District.
“(Pratt’s neighbor) Beth Brooks has been a godsend,” Kim Pratt said. “She said her house will always be my home. Eventually, I would love to come back to Columbus permanently.”
Although she said she may never know the names of everyone who helped her family, Kim Pratt said she will always be grateful to the people of Columbus.
“They will never know how much their actions meant to us,” she said. “It’s one thing to say you’ve been humbled but this goes beyond that. There are no words to show how much love and support Columbus gave us.”