When Benjamin Chappell begins his new job on Wednesday, Dec. 7, it is no ordinary career move for the second generation NC State Trooper. It was not only an honor for the young man to don his gray uniform and step into the role for which he had been preparing, but it was also a memorial tribute to his late father, Ben Chappell, who, as NC State Trooper, perished as a passenger in a plane crash earlier this year in his hometown of Boone.
“The SHP is a family of which I am incredibly happy to be a member,” said the younger Chappell in a recent interview with WataugaOnline.com. “Growing up, seeing my dad in the Highway Patrol, was always very special for me. I wanted to follow in his footsteps to become a trooper for as long as I can remember.” In fact, Chappell added, during the last (telephone) conversation he had with his father, the father-son duo talked about the application process for trooper school which he had already begun. “My father was very excited about the idea and loved knowing that I was pursuing my dream, just like he did, even though he never pushed me to consider it for my own career.”
Chappell was one of 47 new troopers recently graduating as a member of the 140th basic highway patrol school in Raleigh, which marked the end of an extensive 15-week academic and physical training period. The ceremony was held at the Colonial Baptist Church in Cary. The oath of office was administered by Judge Harold T. Jarrell Jr., North Carolina District Courts. Frank L. Perry, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety and Colonel Bill Grey, commander of the State Highway Patrol provided remarks.
Chappell will be stationed in Pender County and is looking forward to “doing some saltwater fishing and living near the beach,” while completing his rigorous field training program,he said. “It’s also close enough to Raleigh, which will allow me to visit my unit frequently.”
If sharing the same name and career with his father was not enough, the younger Chappell also became a licensed (Apache) helicopter pilot, as was his father, while serving in the N.C. National Guard.
A Watauga County native, Chappell graduated from Watauga High School and Appalachian State University. His mother, Anita Norris Chappell, is a retired Watauga County magistrate. He has one sister, Ivy Chappell , a registered nurse.
Watauga County congratulates Ben Chappell in his new endeavor as he strives to keep a family tradition alive and the roads safe for his home state.
Photo courtesy of Benjamin Chappell