RICHMOND, Va. -- In the most unexpected place, visitors viewed a tribute to a man who spent years in law enforcement, helping others.
A hand drawn portrait of Master Trooper Junius Walker was on display this year at the State Fair of Virginia. Walker was shot and killed on Interstate 85 when he stopped to help a disabled vehicle.
The man behind the art is Fred White. The local artist had an encounter with Walker that stuck with White for years.
Years ago, White was driving his mother to the hospital.
“She dropped her cigarette in the car and it started smoking real bad,” he said. “I’m trying to put it out, I’m swerving in and out of traffic, doing seventy.”
White remembers freaking out, swerving across lanes.
“My mom says we must be at K-mart. I said ‘Why?’ and she said blue light special. That’s when I was pulled over by Trooper Walker,” White.
White remembered how understanding Walker was.
“He was just really a nice guy,” he said. “Real laid back and he knew I was freaking out because my carpet was burning.”
Walker asked : “Do you need water? I`m going to let you go.”
“I remembered that,” White said.
When news broke that Walker was killed in service, White remembered his encounter with the kind trooper.
Four years after that tragedy, White wanted to let the family know he appreciated the kindness shown to him by Master Trooper Walker.
To pay tribute to Walker, White poured his heart into the portrait and it was displayed during the State Fair of Virginia. It’s a gift he wanted to surprise Mrs. Walker with, but there was a slight twist.
“I got the surprise, because one of her good friends went to the State Fair, saw it and put it on Facebook. Mrs. Walker saw it and drove all the way from Dinwiddie, I believe, to the State Fair,” White said.
She wanted to purchase it, but White would not allow it. He planned to gift it to her and has since presented the portrait to Walker’s VSP colleagues. They will make the special delivery very soon.
White said he feels good that Mrs. Walker was very impressed with the portrait and said she thinks it captures Walker very well. He’s hoping the portrait will bring some comfort to the family, knowing the impact the Master Trooper made in the community.