CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – A long line of cars drove through the New River Valley Wednesday to honor former Christiansburg Rescue Squad Captain Kelly Walters.
After nearly an hour-long service of Kelly Walters’ favorite melodies and a montage of his career at Auburn Baptist Church, friends, family and rescue squad members paid their respects at his final resting place.
But even the drive over was a touching one for Walters’ cousin, Rogers Walters.
“From the church to the cemetery all along the road people were pulling off to honor Kelly,” Rogers Walters said. “Most amazing thing I have seen in years.”
On top of his 54-year career with the now Christiansburg Rescue Squad, Walters served as a caretaker at Sunset Cemetery for 25 years.
A fitting position for Walters, according to Neal Turner. The cemetery now serving as Walters’ final resting place.
“What a perfect role for a person like Kelly, a caretaker,” Retired Montgomery County Emergency Services Coordinator Neal Turner said. “If somebody was sick he would call on them and check on them. He’d go see them in the hospital. He was far more than just a rescue member.”
Walters arrived in style just like he wanted — in a green 1968 Pontiac.
“I told them this morning there’s two classics. The car and Kelly,” Turner said.
Turner said Walters touched the lives of more than 40,000 people during his career.
Turner is one of them.
At the age of 12, Turner met Walters when his family moved near the cemetery.
But little did Turner know Walters would become a father figure in his life.
“I feel like I’ve had a second father pass away,” he said.
Turner said he didn’t know their drives together in the past was Walters’ way of planting seeds for him to later become a rescue squad member. A career Turner enjoyed for more than four decades.
“He sort of drew you to him because you can tell he was a man that worked hard and got to where he was in life because he worked hard,” Turner said. “And he wanted you to do the same. But he was there to help you get to where you wanted to be also.”