WALLBACK, W.Va. — Motorists who travel Interstate 79 through Roane County will forever be reminded of the sacrifice two West Virginia State Troopers made last year.
Family members, community members and Governor Earl Ray Tomblin gathered at the Wallback exit of I-79 Thursday to dedicate a bridge and a nearby road in honor of Cpl. Marshall Bailey and Trooper Eric Workman.
“Everyone who travels this way will know about our friends, our protectors and our heroes,” said Governor Earl Ray Tomblin during the dedication.
Signs bearing both their names will now be placed at the exit, the bridge and the road that runs under the interstate as a permanent memorial to two men who loved life and loved serving their community.
“They were great guys, they were very dedicated to what they did but they were also community orientated,” said West Virginia State Police Chaplain Cpl. Jim Mitchell. “They loved being around the people, they loved working with people and both of them were also men of faith.”
Troopers Bailey and Workman were shot and killed on August 28, 2012 during a traffic stop. They pulled over Luke Baber who was driving under the influence. When Baber was placed in the back of their cruiser, he somehow retrieved a gun and shot both troopers in the head.
Marshall Bailey’s brother Justin spoke during the dedication ceremony and talked about how the community has helped tremendously throughout the entire ordeal.
“Just the support from the Clay community and the community from Poca it’s been very touching,” Justin said. “To be honest with you, I don’t know how we would have made it through the last year without that support.”
The community showed that support during the ceremony as a large crowd gathered for the event despite very warm temperatures. Tomblin told family members that the memorial shows how much the community cares.
“This memorial represents the love and respect that we have for Cpl. Marshall Bailey and Trooper Eric Workman,” Tomblin said.
So now instead of just the makeshift memorial that has popped up under the interstate overpass, a more permanent symbol will now show everyone driving through the sacrifice that was made that August day.
“People need to know that those two men were dedicated to them and they made the sacrifice but also our families make sacrifices,” said “So if we want the community to know anything else is that don’t just pray for us but also pray for our families.”
Justin Bailey hopes that these signs will remind people just what officers do for their communities on a daily basis and cause them to stop and think.
“It’s unfortunate that a tragedy has to happen to see these people recognized,” he said. “The law enforcement community is putting their lives on the line every day for us and very rarely do they get a thank you.”
Governor Tomblin and Col. C.R. “Jay” Smithers also awarded Cpl. Bailey and Trooper Workman with the State Police Cross during Thursday’s dedication.