Team holds tourney honoring trooper
By Rebecca Chappell
Special to the News-Herald
The Holland Athletic Association Ball Park in Suffolk held a baseball tournament last week honoring fallen Virginia State Trooper Chad Dermyer and his family.
The traveling baseball team is made up of children from the Holland and southern Isle of Wight County.
Trooper Dermyer was killed almost two months ago in the line of duty. The idea of hosting a baseball tournament in Dermyer’s honor came from J.P. Hopko, a 9-year-old boy who plays on Western Tidewater Rage and is also the son of Joe Hopko, a deputy for the Isle of Wight County’s Sheriff’s Office.
“My son J.P. knows and understands what law enforcement families go through in times, and that’s because he lives the life of law enforcement,” Joe Hopko said. “J.P. just wanted to help educate his teammates and their families and friends and everybody that law enforcement is here to help, not hurt.”
Several law enforcement officers were present the day of the tournament.
Sgt. Jason Brinkley of the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office kicked off the event by singing the National Anthem.
First Sgt. Allen Williams, a Virginia state trooper, then stepped in and gave a speech, thanking everybody for having this tournament and honoring law enforcement officers.
“It means the world to the Dermyer family that y’all did this for them,” Williams said. “We thank you for your service to us.”
The team also had jerseys made for this event that showed support for Dermyer. David Holt donated the money for them.
They also signed baseballs and a card, and gave them to Williams to give to the Dermyer family.
“It was an emotional but amazing day with the support from family, friends and colleagues. Everybody was very thankful that the Western Tidewater Rage dedicated their tournament to Trooper Chad Dermyer and his family,” Joe Hopko added.
Trooper Lee Johnson threw the first pitch to catcher J.P. Williams at the start of the first game. Western Tidewater Rage went on to win the championship for the silver bracket.