Fallen Officer Michael Chandler honored with procession, starting in Roanoke

Officer Michael Chandler was saluted from Roanoke to Big Stone Gap, a trip that takes nearly 4...
Officer Michael Chandler was saluted from Roanoke to Big Stone Gap, a trip that takes nearly 4 hours.(WDBJ7)
Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 6:25 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - A simple gesture for the hardest goodbye.

“He was working on his birthday, so he was actually killed on his birthday, that’s just incredible, that happened there,” said field officer Jason Vance with the Roanoke Police Department.

Officer Michael Chandler should have been celebrating November 13. Instead, his life is now being celebrated. Chandler, a police officer with Big Stone Gap’s department, was gunned down while on the job.

“We’ve met at the Red Lane Bridge too much in the last couple years. Roanoke City, Salem Police Department, Salem Fire Department, we’ve come here all too often for soldiers and first responders,” said John Prillaman, Salem’s fire chief.

The display of support Monday extended far past the parking lot of Roanoke’s medical examiner’s office, as it extended nearly 200 miles.

“There are bridges like this from here all the way to Bristol with fire department and police department personnel just showing their respects for Officer Chandler,” said Prillaman.

It was a sight that can affect anyone, but especially those who wear badges.

“To see that happen, especially from a place that I’ve got close ties to, to see that type of attack on law enforcement down there, when he was only serving his community down there, absolutely heartbreaking,” said Vance.

Officer Vance is a native of Wise County. Standing next to his fellow Roanoke Police department officers, Vance saluted Chandler.

The two men never met, but share so much.

“I called my wife, I made sure to tell her that I loved her,” said Vance.

As the hearse arrived in Big Stone Gap Monday afternoon, Chandler was met by a crowd, some who knew him, some who didn’t, but all who respect his service.

According to the Holding Funeral Home, Inc. obituary, Chandler’s family will receive friends during a visitation Wednesday, Nov. 17. The visitation will be held from 3-7 p.m. at the Wise County Convocation Center on the UVA Wise campus.

The funeral service will follow the visitation and feature special speakers. Those speakers include:

  • Virginia Attorney General-Elect Jason Miyares
  • Commonwealth’s Attorney Chuck Slemp
  • Town of Big Stone Gap Manager Steve Lawson
  • Members of Law Enforcement

The obituary also states bagpipes will be played for Chandler’s family.

A graveside procession is scheduled to start lining up at 9 a.m. at Bullit Park. The procession is set to leave at 11 a.m. and those who wish to pay their respects are asked to line the sidewalks along the way to Powell Valley Memorial Gardens. The graveside services will be limited to family and emergency personnel.

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