‘Role model’ trooper commemorated

Mary Henderson, left, of Baltimore, Maryland, and her brother Michael Henderson, of Richmond, unveil the Trooper Harry Lee Henderson Memorial Bridge sign at the Front Royal Country Club on Tuesday. Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL – Virginia State Police, a state senator and officials from Warren County spoke words of honor and remembrance during a ceremonial dedication of the Trooper Harry Lee Henderson Memorial Bridge on Tuesday morning.

It was standing room only at the Front Royal Golf Club, where plenty of people in police uniforms and Boy Scout uniforms alike gathered to hear remarks and see a highway sign unveiled.

The Interstate 66 bridge crossing over Morgan Ford Road had been designated in Henderson’s memory as described in a state bill introduced this year by Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg. Henderson was killed by a tractor-trailer while conducting a traffic stop on Interstate 66 on March 17, 1987. He was 43 years old and had worked with the Virginia State Police for 14 years.

During his welcome, state police superintendent, Col. W. Steven Flaherty, recalled the spread of the news on that day.

“His death was not only a great loss for the Virginia State Police, but certainly for this community and no doubt to his family,” he said.

Retired Virginia State Police trooper Ashby Crowder, left, gives a hug to Mary Henderson, daughter of the late Trooper Harry Lee Henderson during a bridge dedication ceremony Tuesday at the Front Royal Country Club. Crowder was a co-worker of Henderson's in Warren County. Rich Cooley/Daily

Flaherty also emphasized Henderson’s time as a scoutmaster and role model while working with the Boy Scouts in Warren County, having helped 46 Eagle Scouts attain their rank.

Mary Henderson spoke to her father’s generosity and humbleness in service and asked those present to continue on in his tradition.

“If you honor my father, you also honor my mother because my dad could not have done all that he did and touched so many lives without her and her support,” she said.

Michael Henderson talked about his father’s connection to the local community and his impact on people’s lives, from his service as a state trooper and scoutmaster to giving from the family garden.

“He loved Warren County, he loved the people here,” he said.

Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, superintendent of the Virginia State Police, speaks Tuesday during the dedication of the Trooper Harry Lee Henderson Bridge at the Front Royal Country Club. Rich Cooley/Daily

After the ceremony, Mary Henderson said she recalled scouts coming in and out of the house and staying for dinner.

“There was always Boy Scouts around, there were always kids running in and out of our house … and it wasn’t a big deal, that’s what you did,” she said.

Tony Fletcher told those assembled how Henderson’s legacy of servant leadership, a concept he taught to Fletcher and others in Warren County, lives on in the troop he’s scoutmaster of now, Troop 476 in Richmond.

“Servant leadership is one who shares their responsibilities and power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform at their highest level,” he said. “That’s Mr. Henderson.”

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com