VIRGINIA

John Alford honors Virginia's fallen officers, firefighters

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In his off-hours, John Alford drives an arena race car decorated with the names of fallen officers.

Marlys Bernal says it's the perfect way to keep her husband's memory alive.

"The thought of him going around a track; he would have loved it," Bernal said of her husband, Fairfax County Police Captain Tommy Bernal.

Tommy loved both racing and policing.

A member of the motorcycle unit, Tommy was killed in an auto accident in the line of duty. Now his name and the name of Fairfax County firefighter Horace "Teddy" Pendergrass decorate the side of Alford's arena race car.

Alford said, "They don't know what their running into or walking into until it's too late and honoring that is the ultimate."

Alford, an 18-year veteran of the Fairfax County Police  Department, dedicates his arena race car to Virginia's fallen heroes - county by county. Last week, it was Stafford County; this week, he's honoring his colleagues in Fairfax County. 

"It's truly an honor, and I can't get enough of it and it keeps me going," Alford continued.

For the family and friends of the fallen, the memorial helps ease the pain.

"It..it means a lot...because Pendergrass and I grew up together," said Pendergrass' life-long friend Lloyd Jackson.

Alford says he plans to honor fallen officers in Fredericksburg next. He will return to Fairfax County in a few weeks.

For a schedule of the arena races Alford participates in, click here.

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