RANDALL - Family, friends and colleagues gathered at the Randall Christian Church on Saturday to celebrate the life of Shayne Walters, and the proceedings illustrated a man of love and faith.
Walters, who passed away unexpectedly on Oct. 8 from complications from his treatment for colon cancer, was the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors chairman, but those in attendance Saturday saw so much more in the 49-year-old.
"He was a man who did the right thing. He sought the right thing," Pastor Lance Briofsky said. "He left a shining imprint on those who knew him. He was one of a kind ... He was a gift to us."
Briofsky, the pastor at Randall Christian Church, where Walters had attended services for the past two years, said it is a wonderful thing to honor a friend and that there may even be some laughing during the service, because it was a celebration.
The rest of the people who volunteered to speak, while fighting back tears, echoed the sentiments about a man who had a big heart for "people and critters," and a man who never acted like a person dying of a disease.
Walters' friend Chris Mitchell shared stories of the late Charleston supervisor' love of animals of all kinds, including a time when Walters raised a group of pigeons back to health after they were attacked by a fox. And he stressed how much Walters loved people.
"Helping other people was a joy for him. It's who he was ... That's the man he is," Mitchell said.
Briofsky expressed that again and said he was overwhelmed by what a "champion" Walters was to the people he helped who were affected by Tropical Storm Irene. He explained Walters called him and told him they were going to dig through the mud and fix the mess caused by the overflow of the Schoharie Creek brought on by the storm.
Walters' daughter-in-law Sheryl Grier also attested to this incident and said when she came up from Washington, D.C., after the storm for vacation, he drove her around to see the devastation the storm had caused.
"He is one of the people I have the most respect for, and I know a lot of people," Grier said. "I have met very few people that have the strength and integrity and sense of personal responsibility that he had. I have met very few people I respect like Shayne."
Walters' mother, Jean, and wife, Laurie, said they were amazed at all the people he had affected in his life. They said it has kept them strong during their grieving.
"It is the joy of my life," Jean said. "It lifts me up off the floor to know that so many people like him."