Steve Sheppard Photography Blog

Kirby Porter – I Love You, Brother

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Over the years, I have watched my father-in-law attend the funerals of many of his good friends. He is 81.

Unfortunately, at 51, I have begun to have to do the same thing.

Two years ago, Kirk Shelton, one of my best buddies from high school, my co-captain of our high school football team and my roommate for two years at Danville Community College died as a result of a brain tumor. Fortunately, I was able to spend time with him over his last couple of months.

My professional mentor, Dick Thompson, passed in October.

Last Monday, Kirby Porter, my Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity brother, my roommate in the fraternity house, my Archon (fraternity president), my classmate in the criminal justice program and my friend passed to the chapter eternal.

I could not have been more stunned.

Kirby Porter had a profound effect on my life. We became friends when I joined the Delta Phi Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi at Radford University. We played horseshoes in the backyard of the fraternity house, rode the elevator in the 13-story Muse dorm to meet the freshman, talked about plans to join the U.S. Marine Corps and always had a great time whenever we were together.

There are so many stories I could tell. There was the night we decided that the fraternity house dinner plates made great Frisbees and as a result we had to buy all new dishes for the fraternity house the next morning. Then there was the Halloween that Kirby and I, along with now Marine Corps Col. Ed Ramsey and several other brothers, purchased toy M16s at Kmart, wore camouflage and planned an attack on the Radford University student center. As a group of about 10, we blasted through the doors of the University’s Halloween party with our toy M16s. If we had done that today, we would probably be in jail. Then, there was the night we sang onstage with The Embers. “Heeeeeeeeeeey, hey baby, I want to knooooooww…

I remember meeting in Ed Ramsey’s dorm room, on many occasions, and singing the Marine Corps Hymn and The Ballad of the Green Berets to the top of our lungs. Tonight, I raised a glass while I listened and sang to both on iTunes over and over again. Then a few more times.

I first read Fields of Fire, by Virginia Senator James Webb, and A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo at either Kirby’s or Eddie’s suggestion. Those two books are two of the greatest novels, I have read, from the Vietnam War.

However, what is more emblazoned in my memory is all the nights Kirby and I would talk while falling asleep in the loft we built in our fraternity bedroom. We would talk about the future, talk about the United States Marine Corps and talk about how the most honorable thing we could do ever do, in life, was serve a higher calling. Serve our country, our state or just a higher calling than ourselves.

Because of mine, Eddie’s and Kirby’s joint conversations, I joined the United States Marine Corps. It changed my life. Honor, Duty and Courage was important. It’s what Kirby was all about.

Kirby served eight years as Commonwealth’s Attorney for Hanover County, Virginia.

Kirby became the person I knew he would be. In 1988, he earned the Juris Doctor from the George Mason University School of Law. He was the President of the Hanover Ruritan Club, in the Kiwanis, a member of the Hanover Association of Businesses and Chamber of Commerce. He was on the Patrick Henry YMCA Board, and the Hanover Bar and Richmond Bar Association Boards, He was a member of the Richmond Criminal Bar and Community Criminal Justice Board as Vice-Chair. He was on was on the Hanover Domestic Violence Task Force Board, Capitol Area Alcohol Safety Action Program Board, the Virginia Association of Local Elected Constitutional Officers and the American Legion. He was also a graduate of the National Association of District Attorneys, a member of the Mechanicsville United Methodist Church, the Hanover Adult Center and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Voice of Democracy.

He was a lecturer of at elderly organizations, victims groups, battered women’s organizations, the public schools, the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association and the Domestic Violence Task Force Seminars.

He was admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States and of Virginia, the U.S. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit; the U.S. District Court for The Eastern District of Virginia and the D.C. Court of Appeals.

Most importantly of all, Kirby had a wife and four children ages seven to 13.

Kirby, I love you, as do all of your Pi Kappa Phi brothers. On Thursday, I will be there for you. Rest In Peace, my Brother.

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Written by stevesheppardphotography

July 19, 2010 at 10:02 pm

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