NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — It was quiet off 16th street in Newport News Saturday morning.
The trees were standing bare against the wind, but one of them was unique enough to make the cars slow down as they drove past it.
“I think it looks fabulous,” smiled Newport News resident, Shannon Wilburn.
Wilburn and a few friends have been nurturing this beautiful space in honor of a beautiful soul.
Wilburn says the tree decorated with flowers, lights, and mementos, is a reminder that fallen Newport News Police Officer Katie Thyne’s legacy will always stay alive.
The 24-year-old former U.S. Navy sailor was killed in the line of duty a year ago when she and another officer pulled over a driver and passenger on suspicion of marijuana use near the Monitor Merrimac Overlook Park.
“She did such great things for the community. The people down here loved her everyone who worked with her loved her. She was so proactive,” said Wilburn.
Although she’s not a family member or a close friend, Wilburn took it upon herself to keep up with the memorial, out of the goodness of her heart.
She says while many come to pray and remember Katie’s life, someone in the past week or so ripped her hard work away.
“Someone stripped the entire tree of everything every piece of memorabilia, every light, every flower,” Wilburn said.
However, that didn’t stop her. This morning, she and a few other community members helped her make it even better than before, with each small detail holding meaning.
“Sunflowers, Brittany always brought her sunflowers, purple wisteria, purple was Katie’s favorite color,” she explained.
Wilburn plans to continue watching over the memorial for many years to come.