Remembering a patriot: Family accepts high school diploma for young McAfee Knob victim at graduation

Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 3:51 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Family members of the juvenile killed on McAfee Knob on May 26 have released his identity.

Christian ‘Chris’ Lambert was 17 years old and only a few weeks from graduating high school when he died after a tragic incident, according to his family.

His family is sharing his story and more about the life he lived.

“His whole life brightened the world --- his smile, especially,” said his cousin Jennifer.

“They always say, one person can’t change the world; he changed the community,” said his cousin Keith.

Jennifer and Keith say they are Christian Lambert’s cousins and watched him grow up to be the young man so many people knew and cared for.

“I remember family gatherings because his mama Cathy was a good cook, you know? So, I remember him climbing underneath the tables and stuff during those family gatherings,” said Keith.

“You know when he would come into the house because it was high energy running through holiday gathering. It was just high energy,” said Keith.

“He was just so outgoing, but an introvert at the same time,” said Jennifer.

Chris’s family says he was to graduate from Patrick Henry High School this year, but tragedy changed that in May.

“Chris might not be here, but he’s within everybody,” said Keith.

You could see the mark Chris made as the auditorium gave Keith and Jennifer a standing ovation as they walked on the stage and accepted his high school diploma.

“He made it this far, like, there are those hard classes like determination, or whatever life threw his way. He earned that diploma,” said Jennifer.

“Plus working a full-time job,” said Keith.

They say Chris was a hard worker and worked at Texas Roadhouse the entire time he was in high school. His cousins say his coworkers were like family.

“They are family now too because obviously, family is not always blood,” said Jennifer.

“And that’s why I say he helped shape our community because he brought two different families together. Our family and the Texas Roadhouse family” said Keith.

“I really appreciate you guys,” said Jennifer.

Chris’s family wants him to be remembered for the impact he had on others and the notion he had a bright future ahead of him.

WDBJ7 has reached out to Roanoke County Police for any additional updates on the case. Police say they are still investigating the incident.