Chattanooga Man Remembered After Dragstrip Death

Reported by: Alisha Searl
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Updated: 12/09/2012 12:03 am

Patrick Henry, a member of the Brainerd Optimist Club, says, "I love feeling the warmth of the sun right now. It makes me look up and I know Johnny's there too."

Now, it's a small sign that makes a big difference in the lives of those who knew Johnny Walker.

Brenda Walker, Johnny's sister, adds, "It just meant so much to me because this is so much what he loved to do and it was so much a part of his life. That naming of him was so fitting to the memory of Johnny."

Walker, 53, was a fixture at the Brainerd Optimist Dragstrip.

That was until tragedy struck November 3rd.

A 22-year-old woman accidentally backed into him on the track, killing him.

Henry adds, "He was a guy that gave with his time. "

For more than 18 years Walker stood where this man stands today.

Henry says, "Johnny was a person that had a big heart."

And an almost larger beard.

It was fitting for a man who loved Christmas enough to dress up as Santa Claus for local children.

Brenda Walker adds, "Every year dressed up."

So, when workers and racers got together to put up a sign in Walker's honor, they knew they could more, especially this time of year.

Henry add,s "For kids, for toys, and to remember Johnny Walker."

Every person who walked through the gate, either donated a toy to help underprivileged children, a can of food to put on their table, or money.

Three different organizations were helped Saturday, all because of Walker.

Robert Walker, Johnny's Brother, adds, "That really touched home."

Brenda Walker says, "It means a whole lot to me and my family."

Now, the family hopes this will continue for years to come because they say Walker loved children with all his heart.

They know his legacy will live on at the dragstrip, but family members tell us his legacy could live on in every single household.

Henry adds, "And I think if we can look at him we can all become better people by what he did, and try to carry that on."

Those organizations that were helped Saturday include the Chattanooga Food Bank, Catoosa County Stocking Full of Love, and the Forgotten Child Fund.

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