Powhatan gym mourns the loss of their ‘Coach Mike’ after VSP killing

POWHATAN, Va. (WRIC) — As the days pass since Special Agent Mike Walter was killed, 8News is learning more about the man behind the badge.

Trooper Mike Walter leaves behind a wife and three kids, but many would say his family is much bigger than that.

He was a dedicated state trooper but to those who knew him, his biggest impact was the one he made as ‘Coach Mike.’

“Mike was never doing things for himself,” said friend Richard FitzSimmons. “He was never doing things for his name. He was always going things for other people.”

Special Agent Walter founded the Blackhawk Gym and Powhatan Youth Wrestling Club nearly ten years ago.

It was an idea he proposed to retired wrestling coach Richard FitzSimmons.

“He built this program for the youth to build character, values, morals, integrity through the sport of wrestling,” FitzSimmons said.

Simply put, it was so much more than just a gym.

“What Mike has created here is an advanced institute for building character,” said friend Rob McMillin.

It’s inside that Powhatan facility, that many will experience the void left behind by Walter’s death.

“We’re going to struggle to fill that void,” McMillin said. “And we’re not going to be able to fill it.”

Those at the gym said Walter dedicated every bit of his free time to mentoring each kid that walked through the door.

“None of this was about him it was always about the kids,” McMillin said.

While the gym is open to all ages, the wrestling club is for kids from kindergarten to 8th grade.

Now it’s the most recent graduating class that has a new meaning.

“The significance of that class means a lot to me because that’s Mike’s last 8th-grade class,” FitzSimmons said. “That class has both his son and my son in it. Both of which were the last of the original members to this club ten years ago.”

A coach, a father, a friend, taken in the blink of an eye.

“We take for granted the time we have with people and you don’t really realize the things you have when you have them,” FitzSimmons said.

Next weekend wrestlers will be competing in Powhatan at the annual Rumble in the Rodeo. For them, it will serve as their own memorial for their Coach Mike.

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