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Former wife of fallen officer raises thousands during bake sale for Trooper Walker's family

Trooper Chad Walker
Posted at 5:37 PM, Apr 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-04 10:48:39-04

BREMOND, TEXAS — The pain from Trooper Walker's passing hasn't just been felt in the Groesbeck community, it has also resonated far and wide.

One community in Robertson County rallied around the devastation and mixed Saturday morning with a close-knit community bake sale to help touch Trooper Walker's family.

Denise Girdley still bares in her bones the knock of a uniformed officer at an unthinkable time.

"I'm just grateful to be able to do this. Honestly with the support that we received years ago..I think that's why we are at where we are right now. It's hard to receive that knock on your door knowing that your spouse isn't coming home," Denise Girdley said.

Girdley is the bake sale organizer and former wife of an officer who lost his life in the line of duty.

The horrific accident happened over 15 years ago in 2005, but the pain is still raw as if it happened yesterday.

Her former husband Michael Bancroft was killed in an automobile accident on his way home from his shift as a Deputy Sheriff assigned to a multi-jurisdictional narcotics task force with Robertson County.

"He (Michael Bancroft) worked with Robertson and Limestone County with the drug narcotics task force. It was just his time. We didn't have a chance to say goodbyes to him, the Walker's didn't either. When you have small children you just have to pick up, if you want to or not. As hard as it is, you have to continue with life. There were days I just sat there cried and I had a good back support, friends that gave me a job at a local restaurant here, that's actually where I met my husband at now. Without that support...my kids really wouldn't be the people they are today. I am so thankful for everybody," Girdley said.

Denise says she knows the pain the Walker family is experiencing.

"If there is anything I could ever help her with, just to be there to listen to her, to have a shoulder for her to cry on. I may join her crying some tears, but I am willing to do anything for her and those children. They did not deserve this. Nobody deserves what they are going through," Girdley added.

Girdley, now-remarried, saw an opportunity to pay forward the support she once received with homemade baked goods on a chilly Saturday morning.

The community all pitched in with cakes and pies as they served more than just a sweet treat. She hopes it all helps the Walkers.

"Three small children...and a teenager. It's going to help a lot," she added.

The Bremond community felt the pain of Trooper Walker's passing, including Robertson County Sheriff Gerald Yezak who has delivered devastating news before to a family.

He was the one who told Denise about her loss all those years ago.

"I got the call that night from one of our supervisors and I went out to the location. From there I went to Denise's house where her and the kids were. I stopped by her parents house first and asked her dad to go with me because I told him after I leave she is going to need someone to stay with her. It was about 3:20 in the morning when I showed up and I went inside and I told her," Sheriff Yezak said.

"It brings it all back. It brings it all back every time. You and I don't know that feeling. Denise does. Mrs. Walker does. Maybe one day those two ladies will meet and be able to have a conversation," Robertson County Sheriff Yezak added.

Suiting up as the county Sheriff for 25 years, 36 total with the department, Sheriff Yezak says when the unimaginable happens, shock waves ripple through small towns, including his of Bremond.

"That's how it is in small town USA. People come together and they help each other whether they know each other or not... Doesn't matter," Sheriff Yezak added.

The baked goods all sold in less than an hour and a half and brought in around $3,600 dollars.

Every penny will go to benefit the Walker family.

"We had pies, like 35 cakes that we made last night, brownies, cookies that other people have donated from the community, banana pudding, we just really had wonderful support. Donations from the community has just been an outpouring. Bremond's a great community," Girdley added.

Denise's two sons also felt compelled to offer a hand, as they were reminded of the pain that comes with losing a loved one.

They held a BBQ benefit dinner in Bryan which raised $2,200 dollars a few days ago.

In total, efforts from Denise's family, along with local communities showing their support during these two occasions, were able to raise almost $6,000 to benefit the family.

Denise plans on coordinating with the Limestone County Sheriff once it's appropriate and deliver the funds to the family in-person.