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“Another guardian angel for us.” Grayson Co. remembers longtime school volunteer and mentor

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 6:08 PM EDT
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GRAYSON COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - Christopher ‘Cheeseburger’ Phipps was a long-time band volunteer, coach, and mentor at Grayson County Public Schools.

“He was more than just a close friend; he felt more like family than anything. He has done so much for me, so much for all of us, honestly,” said Seth Taylor, a 12th-grade student.

“He actually taught me more about brothership and trustworthiness and sportsmanship than anyone in my whole life has. And just know that he’s up there. Just another guardian angel for us, and he’s up here to talk, too,” said Conner Anthony, a 10th-grader.

Taylor and Anthony say ‘Cheese’ taught them everything they knew when it comes to percussion, and he will never be replaced.

‘Cheese’ passed away after a car accident in early October—many in Grayson County were hurt by his loss because he did so much for the community.

“Burger, as we refer to him, is the constant volunteer for our schools, our band. He’s a constant volunteer for the recreation department. He’s had one girl that’s already one young lady graduate who actually worked for us now as an aide, and of course he has two other daughters in our school system now,” said Kelly Wilmore, superintendent of Grayson County Public Schools.

“He was absolutely one of the most tireless workers and volunteers that I’ve ever been associated with in over 20 years of education.”

Students mentored by ‘Cheese’ say he was more than someone who helped the band and the community; he was a father figure and friend.

School leaders say he never missed a football game and always volunteered in concessions or played with the band.

“It wasn’t just about his children; he was about every child. He was, he was a role model and a father figure to all the children in the school division,” said Wilmore.

“Thank you for all you’ve done for me and the percussion team and he’s really put a tremendous dent in what he has done for this band and for us,” said Anthony.

The family will receive friends from 6-9 p.m. October 12 at High Country Services.

A funeral service will be held on October 13th, beginning at 1:00 PM at High Country Services with pastors; Gerald Phipps, Sue Greene, Derreck Cowan, and Gayle Bolt officiating.

Burial will follow in the Independence Cemetery, Independence, VA.

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