YORK COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) – Butch Downey of Gloucester held an American flag and saluted Trooper Chad Dermyer’s hearse as it passed by Route 17 in York County Tuesday. A larger flag flew high above him, suspended from two fire trucks.
“It’s heartbreaking that we have to be here doing this…Whether you knew Trooper Dermyer or not, you’ll have to remember that every one of these guys in uniform are doing the same thing he was doing — protecting us and keeping us safe,” Downey said.
“I would say, ‘Thank you. Thank you for serving our country,'” said Zachary Harrison, who spent his fifteenth birthday along the procession route with his family.
Debbie Wymer of Yorktown brought her daughters and blue balloons as they showed support for Dermyer and his family.
“Thank you for serving our country and for saving our lives daily, putting his life on the line every day for us and we appreciate him…It’s overwhelming and my heart goes out to them. I pray for them and I pray that they will find the strength to go on.”
Cathy Fond of Seaford said she couldn’t believe it when she heard a gunman shot and killed Dermyer last week at a Greyhound bus terminal in Richmond.
“Rest in peace. There will be plenty of people taking care of your family,” she said.
As the procession came into view, rounding the corner, the crowd grew silent. Some wiped away tears, others placed hands on their hearts. They all had a message for the Dermyer family.
“I am so sorry, so sorry. You’ll have plenty of support from everyone else,” Fond said.
“I would say that your father’s a hero. He died serving the people of the State of Virginia,” Downey said.
State Police estimated approximately 4,000 people, police and highway patrols from more than 20 states came out to pay tribute to Trooper Dermyer.