“One moment can change a day, one day can change a life, and one life can change the world.” — Buddha

By VIRGINIA NISHITA, Mountain View Buddhist Temple

Nov. 27, 2021 at 4:39 a.m. was a moment that changed Kevin Nishita’s life, and our family would never be the same again. This is the date and time my husband Kevin lost his life.

On Nov. 24, he was shot while protecting a Bay Area TV news crew from a person who wanted to steal the news crew’s camera equipment. He succumbed to his injuries a few days later.

On Nov. 30, U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) read a tribute to Kevin’s bravery while protecting others into the Congressional Record.

He lived his life according to the Nembutsu teachings.

Left: Kevin Nishita is shown when he was with the Hayward Police Department. Right: A teenage Kevin Nishita as a member of the Marysville YBA. (Courtesy of Virginia Nishita)

Kevin was born, raised and received his primary education in Yuba City, Calif. His parents, Dan and Mary Nishita, were involved in the farming industry. Kevin grew up with the Buddhist teachings in a family of a brother and four sisters. 

He was a member of the Marysville YBA, and during the 1980s, participated in many of the Northern California Young Buddhist League (NCYBL) district events as well as attending the NCYBL and Western Young Buddhist League (WYBL) meetings.

The NCYBL is the coordinating body of YBA chapters in the BCA’s Northern California District, and the WYBL is the coordinating body of YBA district leagues and chapters in California and Arizona.

Kevin attended and graduated from California State University, Sacramento with a degree in business marketing. He was a lifelong member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.

Kevin was selfless. He spent 25 years in law enforcement serving Bay Area communities. Kevin graduated from the Butte Law Enforcement Academy in 1993. He began his career with the Oakland Housing Authority, followed by the Hayward Police Department, San Jose Police Department and Colma Police Department, where he retired in 2018.

After retiring, Kevin still had the passion to serve and protect others, so he continued as an armed security guard, specifically protecting the Bay Area news media TV teams.

He would show his kindness by volunteering for community events in the Bay Area. He was a member of the Mountain View Buddhist Temple and would volunteer for temple events. Kevin shared his faith in the teachings of Amida Buddha with his family and we would attend many of the annual events together.

Kevin was our superhero. He married me in 2004 at the beautiful Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, Calif. Kevin was a proud grandfather, father and husband. He has two children, Enrique (Elaine) and Maureen (Marlowe), and three grandchildren, Titus, Kahuna and Dash.

He was generous and compassionate, always opening his home for anyone who needed help without a second thought. He knew the importance of family and would make our family vacations fun with his jokes, Stitch costume, Snoopy slippers, etc. For our regularly scheduled family dinners he would make his yummy macaroni salad for us to enjoy.

Kevin taught us many things, but one that will forever be remembered is the Japanese word gaman (我慢), which means “enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity.” 

The person who had the greatest impact on Kevin’s life was his mother, Mary, who taught him right from wrong, taught him to work hard and guided him into becoming a responsible adult.

Kevin’s colleagues and friends will remember him as a loyal and reliable friend, someone that you could count on. To his loved ones, he will always be the hard-working and compassionate family man he wanted to be.

Kevin is continuing to help people in need even after he has passed away, with the donation of his organs. That is just the kind of person that Kevin was. Kevin set an example of what a good, decent contributing member of society is supposed to be.

Serving people was the role in life Kevin chose. The world is now short one of its most fierce protectors.

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