POWHATAN COUNTY, Va. -- The American flag was raised 50 feet outside Blackhawk Gym and Wrestling Club Friday, while inside remembrance of the man it honors and who built the Powhatan club.
“There are plenty of gyms where you just go to work out but here it’s the intensity and behind it Mike cared about every single person,” said Blackhawk employee Nelson Sutton.
Nelson Sutton says he was one of the hundreds of people who coach Mike Walter guided in the gym and in life.
“Being a man was a priority here, acting like you’re supposed to, what to do in certain situations and how to treat others,” Sutton said.
“Very transformational coach. He looked at how can I help you the young athlete be a better version of you each and every day,” said friend and sports performance coach Adam Moss.
“Incredibly passionate man, passionate about his family, passionate about wrestling, passionate about Blackhawk and it showed in his drive,” he added.
Walter worked out Friday before unknowingly leaving his second home for the very last time.
“Before we pulled out Mike pulled up next to us and hit the siren on his truck,” said Moss.
It was the final memory Moss would have of his friend Mike who opened his gym to Moss for his sports conditioning business.
The special agent would be fatally shot in Richmond’s Mosby Court hours after leaving his workout while on duty for the Virginia State Police.
Moss’ wife awakened him last Friday with the tragic news.
“Coach Mike’s been shot, the first thought that went through my head is he’s going to be okay, he’s that resilient, he’s that tough,” said Moss. “It doesn’t feel real, I saw three vans like his today. I pull up to the gym looking for his van,” he added.
“I haven’t broken down get because every time I think about it I hear don’t cry,” said Sutton. “He said sometimes you have 10 minutes to cry and that’s it 10 minutes,” he added.
A week later, and on the eve of his funeral boys that became men under coach mike’s watch display tattoos they got Thursday in Mike’s memory.
Sutton got a hand grenade with Mike’s initials and the day of his death.
“I have the grenade mainly because of the intensity Mike brought to the table,” said Sutton. “A hand grenade it can protect you but can also be deadly. If you pull the pin at the wrong time might be some bad news.”
Blackhawk vows to carry on Mike’s legacy.
“Keep going, keep keep going, fall down 7 times get up 8,” said Moss. “He would want us to keep going forward to keep investing in the kids keep doing what we do and think about him as we do it.” he added.
How you can help
If you would like to make a donation in Walter’s memory, you can mail a check to the state police emergency relief fund in his name:
The Virginia State Police Association
Emergency Relief Fund
6944 Forest Hill Avenue
Richmond VA 23225
NOTE: Place “SA Michael Walter” in the memo line