RICHMOND, Va.—Former U.S. Senator John Warner made a surprise appearance Wednesday at the Virginia State Capitol. He was there to honor Lacey Putney, the Bedford County Delegate who is beginning his 51st year in the House.
John Warner's visit to Richmond was a closely guarded secret.
His speech from the clerk's podium, a privilege rarely extended to visitors.
He came to honor his friend, Bedford County Delegate Lacey Putney.
"And I ask each of you to step back in time 66 years," Warner said.
The two men met in the Fall of 1946, when both were students at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, and they've maintained their friendship ever since.
"We joined the same fraternity and you remember Lacey, there were a lot of elegant fellows," Warner said. "I mean, they were the ones with a lot of change in their pockets. And then you and I, we didn't have much change in our pockets.
Warner paid tribute to Putney's service as a delegate for more than 50 years, and said it might be a landmark in Virginia history. In today's political climate, he said, it's hard to imagine anyone else serving as long.
"I'm just stunned, and more than honored," Putney said. "He said a lot of nice things that I don't deserve, but you always like to hear it."
Warner responded: "And I'm just honored to have been asked by the speaker to come down and have a modest role in this historic day."