HENRICO, Va (WIRC) – More than 1,200 people gathered Saturday at St. Paul’s Baptist Church to remember Virginia State Trooper Nathan-Michael W. Smith.
“He’s the epitome of what a good police officer is,” said Trooper Gregory Henshaw, who graduated with Smith.
Officers from all over the Commonwealth and 16 other states stood shoulder to shoulder to honor Smith.
“Nobody in the 121st ever thought that only a little over a year out of the academy we’d be burying one of our class members.”
“It’s not an underestimation to say that we are family,” said Major Matthew Packard with the Colorado State Patrol.
Governor Terry McAuliffe also attended to pay his respects.
Smith, 27, was assigned to the Richmond Division Area 7 Office, which includes the cities of Hopewell and Petersburg, and the counties of Dinwiddie, Nottoway and Prince George.
“He always put everybody first. It was never ‘me or I.’ It was ‘what can I do to help someone else,’” said Henshaw.
Smith was driving to a car crash, when he lost control. He died in the hospital.
“In the academy they do their best to prepare you for it but nothing ever really does,” said Henshaw.
“It’s important that Virginia and rest of troopers around the country know that we stand behind them during this difficult time,” said Major Packard.
Smith leaves behind a wife and two kids.
Trooper Henshaw and Smith often led prayer groups together in the academy.
“His number of thing that he always told me was that he wanted to be a better father, wanted to be a better husband. Absolutely loved his kids,” he said.
Smith also loved making people smile.
“His laugh is what everybody remembered. He just had this ridiculously contagious laugh. When he’d laugh, everyone else had to laugh and we’d get in trouble all the time,” said Henshaw.
Virginia State Police has established a fund for Trooper Smith’s Family. You may make contributions payable to the Virginia State Police Association Emergency Relief Fund. Please mail donations to the Virginia State Police Association at 6944 Forest Hill Avenue, Richmond, Va., 23225.