Bridgewater College officers laid to rest

Published: Feb. 9, 2022 at 6:53 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - Thousands of stories exist for two men, Vashon “JJ” Jefferson and John Painter, who paid the ultimate sacrifice last week.

“I was in class in Flory Hall, which is right outside where it happened, so I actually heard the gunshots, but I didn’t know obviously that anyone had gotten hurt,” said Hannah Quinn, a Bridgewater College Junior from Botetourt County.

“February 1, 2022, the day my world turned upside down in a matter of seconds,” said Courtney Painter, John’s daughter, from the podium inside Atlantic Union Bank Center on James Madison University Campus.

From a blood line connection, to those who wear a badge 500 miles away, the service for John Painter and JJ Jefferson didn’t discriminate.

“What I witnessed on 81 in the pouring down rain and in this building today, has restored my faith in humanity,” said a friend of John’s.

Thousands packed an arena, listening to friends, family and colleagues and staring at two pictures above two caskets.

“JJ didn’t know any subordinates, as he treated those he knew as better than himself and with the upmost respect,” said Pastor Michael Miller, of Crosslink Community Church.

“John Painter had no fear. He loved his job, he loved his friends, he loved his family,” said a friend of John’s.

The two men, memorialized together, will go down in history together.

“If you’re watching today, there are heroes. They’re at Bridgewater college, they’re in our communities, they’re in the commonwealth of Virginia and let me tell you heroes are sitting in this room today,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin.

And heroes are hard to forget.

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