Wrestling tournament honors fallen airman

The Richmond Hill and Effingham County communities continue to mourn the loss of 21-year-old Airman Apprentice Cameron Walters.

Wrestling tournament honors fallen airman

SPRINGFIELD, Ga. (WTOC) - The Richmond Hill and Effingham County communities continue to mourn the loss of 21-year-old Airman Apprentice Cameron Walters, one of three sailors killed a week ago in a shooting at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola.

You don’t often see tears at a high school wrestling match,but at the annual Rebel Invitational Friday night at Effingham County High School, that wasn’t the case.

Before there were cheers at the wrestling match, there was a moment of silence

Wrestlers from both Richmond Hill and Effingham County stood together, both with ties to the Walters family, to honor the fallen airman.

“Cameron is a part of both teams and both communities. You know, even through this is a wrestling tournament and Richmond Hill and ourselves, you know, we’re rivals. We like to go after it, but you know, this is something that is much more important than just a wrestling tournament, "said Nelson Guggino, Effingham County’s head wrestling coach. "This is something for us to help, you know, honor Cameron and his family as well.”

Richmond Hill echoed the statement.

“It’s just very important to be human and take the wrestling and the sport, and the rivalry out of it. Make everything about being humans,” said William Evans, Richmond Hill’s head wrestling coach.

The family was presented with a naval flag from the Savannah chapter of the Navy League of the United States. The silence in the gym was deafening.

“I still cannot get my head around this travesty which happened in Pensacola,” said Savannah Navy League President and U.S. Navy Retired O.C. Fowler to the crowd.

Following the ceremony, prior to the match, Rebels, Wildcats, and some others shook hands with the family and expressed condolences.

“This is a national tragedy and for it to involve someone from our community is just saddening beyond words, and I was at least thankful that we were here to pay respects to his family,” said Benedictine head coach Joe Tvrdy.

Walters is being remembered as a hero, but those who had crossed paths with him- even in the hallways of a high school, aren’t surprised at his heroic actions.

“For him to do what he did is no surprise. To sacrifice what he did for his community and his country is, you know, something that we never would have doubted,” Guggino said.

Airman Apprentice Walters may no longer be with us, but he is certainly not forgotten.

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