Vallie comes from a large, close-knit family. Today she is a matriarch of five living generations. Raised by her mother in Pensacola, she spent summers in Poarch with her father, Fred Walker. Considered Poarch’s unofficial chief, he died when Vallie was just nine. She remembers Sunday mornings perched on his shoulders in front of the church. He’d let her ring the bell, signaling the community that it was time for church. Afterwards, they’d pick blackberries on the way home. Family and community are Vallie’s secret to strength and happiness.