Hillsborough County
David Gee, Sheriff
Tampa, FL



  • Detention Corporal Mark A. Walther, the son of an Air Force Officer, grew up over seas in Germany and Holland. His father's hobby was restoring antique cars he found while stationed abroad. Walther learned his car crafting and mechanical skills from him.

    He’s been racing in various sanctioning organizations since he was old enough to drive, mainly circle-track and drag racing. In 2007, he decided to pursue his life-long dream of road racing and began the construction of his current race car, a 1992 Ford Mustang. “I did everything from building the engine and transmission, designing the suspension, welding the roll-cage and painting the car. The car makes over 400 horsepower and regularly exceeds 150 MPH on the track. It's the most physically demanding and technically difficult form of motorsports I've ever participated in,” Walther says. His son, Joshua, helps him at the track and in the garage. “I am vehemently opposed to any type of street racing and I hope his participation with me persuades him- and his friends he brings along to the track sometimes- NOT to drive recklessly on the public roads. I am always preaching; Racing is for racetracks.” Detention Corporal Walther’s wife, Vonia, is a Safety Engineer with TECO, and she makes sure all of his safety equipment is up to her standards, which are stricter than the SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) standards. His first full year of SCCA Road Racing was 2009. He won 2 pole positions, 1 race, and finished third in the American Sedan Points Championship in the Florida Region by not finishing worse than 3rd in class at any race. He has raced at Sebring, Daytona, Miami-Homestead, and Palm Beach International Raceway. He has also been on the cover of a national magazine with a car he built in 1992 and was the crew chief on several Top-Cop Charity Challenge cars, including (retired) Sheriff Henderson and Chief-Deputy Depolis. So far in 2010, he has won two pole positions, two more races, and he is currently 2nd in the championship point’s chase. He also finished 3rd in a race at Sebring that featured competitors from throughout the country.

    Background-
    Detention Corporal Mark A. Walther was planning a military career in his father’s footsteps, but opted out when his mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. “I still wanted to serve my country in some fashion but didn't want to be far from my mother’s side, so I took a position with FDOC in 1985 and eventually with the HCSO in 1987.” His mother passed away in 1988, but by then he had developed a sense of service to his community and knew he has found his calling with the HCSO. “My current sense of enjoyment stems from using my 24+ years of experience, mentoring those who serve under me.”

    Walther and his wife Vonia share a love of antiques. They have purchased and restored several pieces of furniture and memorabilia.

    They have five children together in total. Anthony (23), Joshua (19) Jacob (17) Sydney (14) and Amanda (13). They own 18 acres in the mountains north of Asheville, N.C. that they are developing for the log-home they plan to build and retire in. “Of course, there will be a big shop on the back property where I will continue build and restore cars” Walther says.

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