Fallen Heroes Honored
By LYNDON GERMAN
May 19, 2017, 14:45
Tri-City Officer escorts a family to the memorial stand.
HOPEWELL – President John F. Kennedy and the 1962 Congress established a resolution declaring the week in which May 15 falls as National Police Week. The Tri-Cities has avidly celebrated their fallen heroes for 23 years and on May 17, law enforcement from the surrounding cities and counties held a memorial breakfast for their fallen heroes at the Hopewell Moose Lodge number 1472.
This year’s program was hosted by the Fort Lee Provost Marshal Office. After an introduction by Mayor Joe Tull of the Fort Lee Provost Marshal, the national anthem and the invocation b Rev Jason Cashing, Chaplain of the Prince George Fire Department, a remembrance ceremony for the Tri-Cities Fallen officers commenced.
Officer Charlie Hargis from the Hopewell Police Department sang a song dear to his heart titled “A Voice Missing from Roll Call,” a song he heard when his brother-in-law was killed in action in Charles City.
“It’s a song that brings me comfort and I hope it does the same for you,” Hargis said as he tuned his guitar.
The guest speaker for the evening was Chaplain Colonel Claude Crisp of Fort Lee who equated, “I know what we see and experience in what’s happening in our world today makes life really challenging for those who wear the blue,” Col. Crisp said.
Col Crisp quoted painter Leonardo da Vinci saying “I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.”
Col. Crisp urged those law enforcement officers in the room gain strength and persevere through adversity. As John 15:13 says “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
After Crips speech, representatives from the various precincts read their fallen officers last roll call. As those officers were named, their families were escorted to a memorial where they received a white rose and lit a candle in remembrance of their life and service.
Master Trooper Junuis Alvin Walker was one of those servicemen who served as a Virginia State Police Officer for 40 years and served Dinwiddie County for 27 years. His end of watch was Thursday May 7 2013. Walker was shot and killed after stopping what he believed was a disabled vehicle on I-85. Walker encountered a subject who exited the vehicle and opened fired on him as he sat in his patrol car. Unable to return fire Walker called for assistance.
A Trooper responded and exchanged shots with the subject until the subject fled on foot. While Dinwiddie County Sherriff’s Officers took the subject into custody without incident, Master Trooper Walker’s vehicle burst into flame because of the heat from his engine caused the brush under his car to catch fire. The two responding troopers pulled Walker out of the flames, however he an already succumbed to the injuries he sustained during the gunfight. He had only been several months from retirement.
Another fallen hero was Patrol Officer Robert Hatchell, who was shot and killed with his own weapon following a brief pursuit of a stolen vehicle. The stolen car went over an embankment near the old Petersburg Hospital and the driver fled on foot. During the foot pursuit Officer Hatchell was shot and killed. His end of watch was Sunday July 18, 1943. He had served 15 years.
As the ceremony ended, the families of the fallen officers embraced each other as local law enforcement officers paid their respects as well. Hatchell’s living relatives, granddaughters Brenda Muselwhite and Barbara Ivey, may not have met the man but still continue to pay their respects with the support of their extended family.
“It’s like a kind of comraderie,” Brenda Said, “because you’re part of a special group. We weren’t alive when he was killed, but just hearing his story read aloud like that and seeing his picture made us feel like we were there.”
As the men and women in blue left their seats, those fallen heroes can rest easy knowing their families are supported, their memory preserved and their watch continued by their brothers and sisters in blue.