State police dedicate helipad to trooper-pilot killed during white nationalist rally

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — It has been eight months since Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates took his last flight.
 
He died in a helicopter crash while responding to the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12.
 
He was providing surveillance of the white nationalist event. 
 
On Wednesday, Virginia State Police (VSP) dedicated a helipad to him at their headquarters in Chesterfield County. 
 
“The important thing is to never forget,” said First Sergeant Chris Clark with Virginia State Police. 
Clark said it will serve as a constant reminder to those visiting of the man they described as hardworking and funny. 
 
“I hope they have a little chuckle, I hope they have a little laugh and I hope they remember Berke. Berke was a character. He was an awesome trooper. He still is an awesome trooper,” said Clark. 
 
Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe was there for the unveiling. Bates was part of his executive protection unit and McAuliffe considered him family. 
 
McAuliffe said Bates died keeping Virginians safe but also died doing what he loved. 
 
“Berke is one of a kind and he will always, always be remembered,” said McAuliffe. 
 
Bates’ wife, Amanda, said the helipad is a fitting tribute. 
 
“Thank you so much for honoring his memory in a way that I know deep down in my heart would make him proud,” she said. 
 
In February, VSP dedicated an aviation hangar to Lieutenant Jay Cullen. Cullen was the second person killed in the helicopter crash.

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