RUPD Officers Honor Scout for Tribute to Fallen Trooper
A Facebook photo of a 9-year-old Webelos Scout who stood at attention and saluted during the entire 15-minute funeral procession for a fallen Virginia state trooper captured the hearts of the nation and inspired two RU police officers to recognize young Lane Snow's act of respect.
Trooper Andrew Fox, 27, stationed in Pulaski County, was fatally injured while directing traffic at the Virginia State Fair in Hanover County. His funeral procession on Oct. 11 along Route 58 in Carroll County passed by the front yard where Lane, in his Scout uniform, stood to pay tribute to the officer.
Radford University Police Officers Jason Hayes and Brad Bolen, who rode in the procession, saw the young man, and "it really got a hold of me," Bolen said. When the grainy photo appeared online, "I posted it, and other police departments saw it. Things steamrolled from there."
Seen from the procession, Hayes said, Lane "looked to be about five years old. It was touching to see him standing there in full salute. We were proud of him." Trooper Fox's widow, Ginny, also saw Lane and said later she was humbled by seeing such a young man paying his own personal tribute to her late husband.
The image, first posted on Facebook by Virginia Tech Police Lt. George Jackson, had more than 4 million views within five days and drew national media attention, including a CNN story online and on the air.
To honor the young Scout, RUPD's Hayes and Bolen joined 10 other officers from the city of Radford, Pulaski and Giles counties to present gifts of appreciation to Lane at his Cub Scout meeting on Oct. 15. "I think Lane knew something was up when he saw everyone there, but he didn't know what it was. When the moment came, he was shocked," Bolen said.
Hayes and Bolen presented Lane with a shadow box containing a certificate, an RU Police Department patch and a challenge coin with an imprint of the RUPD logo.
RU Police Chief Colleen Roberts said, "I am very proud of this generous gesture on the part of both Officer Bolen and Officer Hayes in participating in this ceremony for Lane Snow. However, I think these officers would agree that the real take-away from this event is the positive, lasting impression of that little boy, standing alone on the side of the road, holding a salute in honor of Trooper Fox. That will stay with them for the rest of their careers in law enforcement."
In a TV interview, Lane said he didn't know Fox personally but was saddened by his death. Lane decided on his own to dress in uniform and stand in full salute. When asked in the interview what he wants to be when he grows up, Lane's response was predictable: a police officer.