SAN ANGELO, TX - Destiny. Fate. Divine intervention. Whatever you choose to call it, this story is the prime example of something good coming from a bad situation. It started with a chance meeting, but it turned into an irreplaceable and priceless gift.
75-year-old Sheila Walthall had just gotten into a car wreck. That's how she met officer Steven Quade.
Officer Quade was waiting with sheila as another officer processed the scene. The pair struck up a conversation. She told him, her brother had been a police officer.
"He got shot 6 times in the back with his own gun,” Watlthall said.
After serving five years in the Korean War, her brother, Gene Christopher joined the Kingsville Police Department. He was killed in the line of duty after three years on the job. Sheila was just 12 years old.
Officer Steven Quade said Walthall told him she didn’t have any pictures of her brother.
Officer Quade, who has served with SAPD and been on the Honor Guard for almost 30 years knows the importance of keeping the memory of fallen officers alive.
"I actually made some phone calls and found out a lot more information than I expected to find out,” Officer Quade said.
That new information only inspired him more. He decided to do more research and put it all together for Sheila then present it to her at a small ceremony.
Rubbings of his name from the memorial wall in Dallas and Washington D.C., a flag flown over the capitol in his honor, newspaper articles, a declaration, and pictures were just a few of the gifts Sheila received.
"This fills in a big gap,” Watlthall said.
Little did Sheila know, she had one more surprise waiting for her. A long-lost relative had been found
Mark is Sheila’s nephew. He was just two years old when his father was killed. He and his mother soon moved out of the country and Sheila never saw him again. Officer Quade searched for weeks and found out mark currently lives in Houston.
"This is overwhelming,” Watlthall said.
She plans to tell mark about his father. When asked what one word she thinks of when she thinks of her brother. She said “life.”
“He loved life, he enjoyed life. He was happy and was always trying to make other people laugh and enjoy themselves,” Watlthall said.
In a way, Gene is still doing that for Sheila. But this time, it came through a fellow brother in blue.
"I've gone all these years with all these questions I wanted to know about and they've been answered by my angels,” Watlthall said.
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