CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Monday would have been Forrest Hooper’s 9th birthday. Hooper was killed last Tuesday in a hit and run along Battlefield Blvd. South in Chesapeake.
Since the tragedy, the South Chesapeake community has rallied around the boy’s family — holding a fundraiser this past weekend. On Monday, they celebrated his heavenly birthday.
The owners of Hickory Towing said close to 4,000 people showed up to support the Hooper family Sunday. A day later, much of the community was wearing blue — Hooper’s favorite color.
Matt Cilento of Hickory Towing had never spoken to Forrest, but like much of the South Chesapeake community, was deeply impacted by the child’s loss.
“Before this I had seen him play in the yard and obviously we go by here all the time, but I had never actually met them,” Cilento said.
A memorial is growing outside of Cilento’s towing business as folks stop by to drop off balloons, cards and candles, all under the watchful eye of a 6-foot tall velociraptor — Hooper’s favorite dinosaur donated by a local business and purchased by Hickory Towing.
“My company just felt like we had to have it for the memorial, and we bought it during the silent auction,” Cilento said.
From raptors of metal to those made of cake — Hooper’s school, Southeastern Elementary, had two dinosaur cakes donated to his class to honor the 8-year-old and celebrate his heavenly birthday. His fellow classmates and school administrators were all dressed in blue.
“The way this community came together, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Cilento said.
Moving forward, Cilento wants to see signage added along Battlefield Boulevard South.
“This is a heavily-traveled area,” Cilento said. “A lot of people go this way to avoid the tolls. Right here is the last exit before the toll plaza so we get a lot of traffic with people avoiding the tolls. If the police department or the city could put out signs to show people’s speeds and how fast they’re actually going.”
Hooper’s funeral will be held at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17 at Great Bridge Baptist Church.