Last Sunday my wife and I took another journey through Spring Grove Cemetery here in Cincinnati, Ohio. As we drove further through the back regions of the cemetery we came upon a most unusual sight. I knew right away that what I beheld was of immense significance. And I was not wrong. We walked up to the memorial and found that the site was none other than the grave of brave Sergeant Kimberly Walker.
Who was Sergeant Kimberly Walker?
Kimberly R. Walker was born along with her twin sister Kara on November 9, 1984. The twins were and are a delight to their mother Deborah. Kimberly grew up in Madisonville, a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. She and her sister Kara were members of the Madisonville YMCA Girl Scout Troop. At times people had trouble telling one twin from the other. As her sister Kara puts it, “We’ve done everything together our whole life except I joined the Navy and left and she joined the Army right after. She was the person you could go to for anything, if it was work related or you just had a problem.” Kimberly was a graduate of Withrow High School. In 2004, Kimberly joined the U.S. Army.
Kimberly served 2 tours in Iraq with the U.S. Army. Kim and her team dominated the U.S. Army FARP Rodeo at Fort Riley, Kansas in 2012. By February 2013, she had just been promoted to Sergeant and was training to man a turret gun in transport details. She was scheduled to go to Afghanistan in the summer of 2013. During 2013, Sergeant Kimberly Walker was assigned to the U.S. Army’s Echo Company, 2-1 General Support Aviation Battalion, Combat Action Brigade, 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kansas. During her Army career she served as a Petroleum Supply Specialist from September 2004 through February 2013. In addition, she was a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Both Kimberly and her sister Kara were featured on WLWT TV in April 2009, when they reunited after six years.
During her career, Sergeant Kimberly Walker received the following Military Commendations:
- Army Commendation Medal (1 OLC)
- Army Achievement Medal (2 OLC)
- Good Conduct Medal (2)
- National Defense Service Medal
- Iraqi Campaign Medal (3 Gold Stars)
- Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
- NCO Professional Development Medal
- Army Service Ribbon, Ov
In short, Sergeant Kimberly Walker was an outstanding soldier who served her country with determination, commitment, and honor.
She and her family were prepared for danger during her Iraqi deployments. No one was prepared for what happened on Valentine’s Day 2013. Kimberly had traveled to Colorado Springs, Colorado to visit her boyfriend Sergeant Montrell Mayo who was stationed at Fort Carson. On Valentine’s Day, Sergeant Mayo struck Kimberly 3 times in the head with a drinking glass and then suffocated her when he realized she was still alive. At the time of her death, Kimberly was 28 years old. With no shred of honor, Montrell Mayo left Kim’s lifeless body in her hotel room and then fled to his Grandmother’s home in Greenville, North Carolina.
But this story is about her and not the murderer. Suffice it to say that he was convicted of premeditated murder by a military jury in November 2014 and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He was also demoted to private and dishonorably discharged.
The Amazing Sergeant Kimberly Walker
But the story does not end with her death. It continues with an awe-inspiring solemn tribute to Sergeant Kimberly Walker. During my visit, I discovered that Kimberly Walker is still giving back to the community even now after her passing. How do you ask? All one need do is visit her memorial. Originally her memorial stone was designed based upon Kimberly’s favorite character, Sponge Bob Square Pants. 2 stones were created, one for Kimberly and one for her sister. Each stone weighs 7,000 pounds and is 6 feet tall and 4 foot wide. Sadly, a controversy arose regarding cemetery decorum (although the designs were approved by a cemetery employee) thereby causing the family more duress. Fortunately, the matter was resolved at the cemetery’s own expense in which the memorial was actually enhanced.
Both Sponge Bob monuments are at the site. In addition, 2 even larger memorial stones were erected in front of the twin Sponge Bobs (the back of each monument faces the back of each Sponge Bob). Each stone is engraved with a separate, unique poem written by Sergeant Kimberly Walker. Each message is stunning. I am not ashamed to admit that I choked up when I read her messages. These messages were written by Kimberly for the public. Somehow in some way she was prepared and wanted to give back to the community. To those who visit her grave, she gives two inspiring messages. It is as if she knew.
I have visited many cemeteries in the United States, and no I am not a ghoul. Cemeteries are an actual historical record of the events of our country, neighborhoods, and loved ones. You can tell a lot about a people by the manner in which they honor their dead. I have been to 1600’s graves in New England, Civil War battlefield cemeteries, on through to Arlington Cemetery. And I can honestly say that Kimberly’s memorial is in my opinion the most profound, inspirational, spiritually challenging grave site in the United States. If you live in Cincinnati or are ever in the area, you need to pay your respects to Sergeant Kimberly Walker. You won’t regret it. What follows next are Kimberly’s messages to you.
As I stated, Kimberly wrote the two poems engraved onto her memorial stones. The poems are provided below word-for-word. Do not leave this article without reading through them! She truly was a remarkable woman. Her concern for others shines through these poems. Should you know any young person, whether an elementary school child or a teenager, please tell them Kim’s story. You will serve them well by doing so.
Right Monument Inscription
IN LOVING MEMORY OF
SGT. KIMBERLY R. WALKER
IF YOU ARE READING THIS POEM IT MEANS THAT I AM NO LONGER
WITH YOU IN THE SENSE THAT MY BODY IS NOT NEXT
TO YOU IN A PHYSICAL STATE.
BUT I AM STILL WITH YOU IN YOUR HEARTS AND
YOUR SPIRITS AND YOUR MEMORIES.
SO PLEASE DO NOT MOURN THE END OF MY PRECIOUS LIFE
BUT REJOICE IN THE BEGINNING OF MY NEW LIFE.
I HAVE RISEN TO HEAVEN TO BE AMONGST MANY ANGELS.
I HAVE TO ADMIT MY NEW LIFE IS FULL OF EVEN MORE COUNTLESS
BLESSINGS THAN I COULD EVER IMAGINE.
SO TODAY CELEBRATE THE GOOD MEMORIES THAT
I HAVE SHARED WITH EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU.
THINK ABOUT HOW I HAVE IMPACTED YOUR LIFE AND
HOW YOU IMPACTED MINE.
WHEN YOU THINK OF ME: THINK OF ME AS A DETERMINED
AND LOVING FRIEND, MOTHER, SISTER, DAUGHTER, AND SOLDIER.
CHERISH MY MEMORIES AND ALLOW ME TO LIVE ON WITH YOU FOREVER.
DO NOT MOURN THE LOSS OF MY LIFE.
SMILE AND KNOW THAT I WILL ALWAYS SMILE
DOWN ON YOU FROM HEAVEN IN RETURN.
CHERISH EVERY MEMORY.
LIVE EVERYDAY AS IF IT IS YOUR LAST.
NO ONE IS PROMISED TOMORROW. SO WHEN THAT DAY DOES COME:
ENSURE THAT YOUR PRESENCE ON EARTH HAS MADE A DIFFERENCE.
IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO GET GOD ON YOUR SIDE AND LIVE RIGHT.
ENSURE THAT YOU WILL COME JOIN ME AT THE PEARLY GATES ONE DAY.
THE CHOICE IS YOURS AND IF YOU HAVE NOT STARTED
YOU CAN ALWAYS START TODAY.
BY Kimberly Walker
Left Monument Inscription
WHEN DO YOU LEARN
WHEN DO YOU LEARN TO PUT ALL YOUR WORRIES IN THE LORD’S HANDS.
UNDERSTANDING THAT WALKING WITH FAITH WILL TAKE YOU VERY FAR?
WHEN DO YOU LEARN TO FORGIVE AND FORGET.
FOR YOUR SAVIOR FORGIVES YOU FOR YOUR SINS?
WHEN DO YOU LEARN THAT NOTHING IN LIFE WILL BE PERFECT?
THERE WILL ALWAYS BE UPS AND DOWNS.
IN LIFE WE MUST ADAPT AND OVERCOME.
WHEN DO YOU LEARN THAT SOCIETY WILL ALWAYS JUDGE YOU.
BUT YOU CAN NEVER LET SOCIETY’S STEREO–
TYPES BECOME YOUR LIFE’S REALITY?
WHEN DO YOU LEARN THAT NOTHING IN LIFE IS GIVEN?
EVERYTHING COMES AT A COST.
YOU HAVE TO WORK FOR WHAT YOU WANT.
WHEN DO YOU LEARN THAT PEOPLE SHOULDN’T BE CLASSIFIED BY COLOR?
ONLY A STRONG INDIVIDUAL CAN TAKE LIFE’S MISHAPS AND
MAKE THEM LIFE’S MEMORIES.
THE BEAUTY TO LEARN AND LIVE LIFE FOR YOU IS THE
GREATEST THING YOU COULD EVER GRASP.
WE ARE NEVER TOO OLD OR YOUNG TO
MAKE CHANGES AND LEARN NEW THINGS.
NO ONE’S LIFE WILL EVER BE PERFECT.
BUT THERE’S ALWAYS A NEW DAY TO WORK TOWARD PERFECTION.
SO WHEN YOU LOOK IN THE MIRROR AND ASK YOURSELF
‘WHEN WILL I LEARN?’ SAY TODAY I WILL LEARN TO TAKE A NEW JOURNEY.
I WILL LEARN TO UNDERSTAND ME AND WHAT MAKES ME, ME.
ONCE I’VE LEARNED ME, I WILL LEAVE IT TO THE WORLD TO UNDERSTAND ME.
I CANNOT ACCEPT WHAT LIFE THROWS MY WAY IF I NEVER ACCEPTED ME.
SO TODAY I WILL LEARN ACCEPTANCE COMES FROM WITHIN.
ONCE I’VE ACCOMPLISHED THAT I THINK EVERYTHING
ELSE TO LEARN WILL FALL INTO PLACE.
BY Kimberly Walker
- Sergeant Kimberly Walker’s grave is located at Spring Grove Cemetery, 4521 Spring Grove Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45232. Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum is the second largest cemetery in the United States and is recognized as a US National Historic Landmark. Url: http://www.springgrove.org/
- Kimberly’s grave is located at Plot: Garden Lane, Section 144C, Lot 186 Space 2.
- The GPS location is Latitude 39.1673°, Longitude: -84.52409°.
- Below is WLWT TV’s broadcast on Sergeant Kimberly R. Walker, courtesy of their YouTube Channel.