NEW KENT COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — This week marks two months since Virginia State Police Special Agent Michael Walter was killed in the line of duty.
The wrestling community from across the region showed up at the gym at New Kent High School to support a man who had an important title, event when he wasn’t protecting Virginians: coach and father.
“Mike had a way of motivating kids,” said Kevin Smithgall, who helped Mike run the Blackhawk Gym.
Even after his death, Walter continues to motivate young wrestler across the Commonwealth.
“We brought the whole entire wrestling community throughout the state together to support one of our fallen heroes,” Kevin Harrell with the Raider Nation Wrestling Club in Yorktown said.
Kevin and Minda Harrell decided to take a proactive approach to honoring Walter.
“We might be a small community but when wrestling comes together we’re a huge force to reckon with,” Minda Harrell said.
60 wrestling teams from Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and beyond showed up at New Kent High School Sunday to participate in the tournament.
This is considered the off-season in the wrestling world, but the Harrells say with nearly 300 athletes competing in the Mike Walter Benefit Tournament. This is bigger than a normal “in-season” tournament.
Just from registration fees, they’ve already raised $6,700. But when all is said and done, from raffles, concessions, and donations, the organizers are hoping to give much more to the Walter family.
“We are hoping to shoot for $10,000 today,” Minda Harrell said.
And for those who knew Walter like family, the outpouring leaves them at a loss for words.
“Support not only through the wrestling community but also outside … to Mike and his family … has been eye opening,” Smithgall said.
100 percent of proceeds from Sunday’s tournament will go to the Walter family.