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Va. State Trooper Josh Barner receives his late father’s badge number

Posted at 5:46 PM, Jan 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-16 11:04:44-05

POWHATAN, Va. -- They say apples don’t fall far from the tree.  Josh Barner always knew he wanted to protect and serve. It is in his DNA.

POWHATAN, Va. -- They say apples don’t fall far from the tree.  Josh Barner always knew he wanted to protect and serve. It is in his DNA.

“Each step I take it proves that I got what it takes,” Barner said. “I’m Joshua Barner, I’m a Virginia State Trooper and I just love it.”

The newly minted State Trooper is living his dream.

“I remember as a kid, a State Trooper car would go by and I said to myself, ‘I’m going to do that one day,’” says Barner.

The 23-year-old Powhatan native credits his father, Bob, with serving as the perfect role model.

“I want to know I’m making a difference in people’s lives in any way I can,” Barner proudly said.

Trooper Bob Barner was a fixture in Powhatan--patrolling the highways and byways during the 1980’s and 90’s.

“When Bob pulled up in the State Police car we would all run out and say ‘Daddy is home. Daddy is home,’” says Josh’s mother Stephanie Barner Williams.

Williams says her husband earned a firm, but fair reputation.

“His priorities were to love God with all of his heart, to love his family and the State Police,” says Williams. “He was a gentleman. But you cross that boundary and he was a warrior.”

Values that Barner promises to emulate.

“Yes. Absolutely. Absolutely,” he said.

At graduation in late November, the one person Barner wanted most to witness his achievement was missing.

“It was rough. I would see all of the kids growing up with their Dad,” he said.

Bob Barner, Josh’s father, died in 1997 of a brain tumor at the tender age of 34.

“He passed away when I was six. From what I hear he was quite the man,” says Josh.

But Barner said his father lives on and not just in memory.

“I got my Dad’s badge—1627,” Barner said.

The four simple numbers mean so much. For Barner and the family, it’s truly a badge of honor.

“At Christmas he would write a card and sign it ‘RAB 1627. I love you always,’” said Williams.

Like father, like son--it is a trooper tradition crossing the generations.

“All I wanted was a little family. Be a trooper and it has happened,” Barner explained. “Those are shoes to fill. I’m going to do my best.”

Every step of the way, Barner said he had a special partner looking over his shoulder on each and every call.

“I wish I could have my dad put his arm around me and call me Buddy,” he explained. “And, if he was here he would slap me on the knee and tell me he was proud of me.”

After graduation Josh received a package from an attorney in the mail. Inside was Trooper Bob Barner’s personal Bible given to the attorney’s client following a traffic stop years ago. The attorney said the Bible should be in Josh’s possession.

Serving our community runs in the Barner family. One of his brothers serves in the U.S. Army and another serves as an officer in the Richmond Police Department.

Barner will patrol Dinwiddie, Nottoway and Prince George Counties.

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Greg McQuade and CBS 6 News are featuring local heroes in a weekly “Heroes Among Us” segment. Watch Greg’s reports Thursdays on CBS News at 6 or here on WTVR.com. If you would like to nominate someone to be featured on “Heroes Among Us,” click here to email heroes@wtvr.com.