The Sussex County Board of Supervisors took time earlier this month to honor a pioneering public servant during a ceremony with his two sons.
The Board issued the following proclamation honoring Walter Gay during the ceremony:
Sussex County Board of Supervisor honor the late Walter T. Gay, Sr. of Wakefield, Va., on Thursday, June 16, 2016 at 7:00 pm in the General District Courtroom – Sussex Judicial Center, Sussex, Va. 23884. Mr. Gay twin sons accepted the Resolution on his behalf for the recognition of his work and accomplishments.
1. He passed away on May 10, 2016. Funeral was May 18, 2016 at the Oak Grove Baptist Church, Wakefield, Va.. The Pallbearers was the Sussex Sheriff Department. Escorted to the Albert G. Horton, Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery in Suffolk, Va. was performed by the Virginia State Police.
2. After serving his country, he returned to Wakefield, Va. where he became an advocate for the citizens and improving conditions for everyone in the community.
3. Mr. Gay was a pioneer of his time by being the first in many areas.
a. He was the first African American Deputy Sheriff in Sussex County.
b. He was the first African American in Sussex County to hold a constituted office
c. He was the first African American in Wakefield to be appointed to the Sussex County School Board and elected Vice Chairman the same year.
d. He was a member of the Sussex County Planning Commission.
e. He was also the first African American in Wakefield to be appointed a State Office by the governor.
4. Mr. Gay is survived by two sons (twins), William L. Gay of Chesterfield, Virginia, and Walter T. Gay, Jr. of Yorktown, Virginia.
After the ceremony, Gay’s twin sons thanked the Board for honoring their father and took a moment to recall some of the many things they learned from him.
William said he and his brother graciously acknowledged this presentation the behalf of their father, for the recognition of his work and accomplishments.
“My father used to tell us to step outside of your comfort zone and reach for things that seem impossible,” William said. “What we do for ourselves dies with us, what we do for others and the world remains and is immortal. This presentation means so much to us and we are so thankful to the Board of Supervisors, County Administrator, Sheriff Department and all that helped to make this a reality. We want to thank to all that came to see this occasional and packing the room with love.”
Ben May/Sussex-Surry Dispatch
Sussex Board of Supervisors Chairman Keith Blowe, left, stands next to William Gay, second from left, and Walter Gay Jr., second from right, stands with Board Vice Chair Susan Seward during a ceremony honoring the late Water T. Gay earlier this month.