Hero. That word - hero-gets used an awful lot in America today. People talk about sports heroes and movie heroes and comic book heroes. It’s used so much it sometimes loses its meaning.
West Virginia lost two great heroes last week: Corporal Marshall Bailey and Trooper Eric Workman. These two men had dedicated their lives to keeping us safe. They got up every day-and a whole lot of nights-and put on the reassuring green uniform of the West Virginia State Police. Every day, they stood on the line that separated good from evil, and risked everything to make sure the evil couldn’t hurt the good. These two men sacrificed their own safety to protect the rest of us. That’s what I call a hero.
They both did it willingly. They could have picked an easy job, a safe job, a job behind a desk. Instead, they picked the hardest job. They choose a career with long nights on the road, calls at all hours, and danger around every corner, always a split second away. They lived and worked with the knowledge that any call, any stop, could be the one that went wrong.
Why did they do it? All I can say is that police work is more than a job. It’s a calling. There are certain people, special individuals, who have something inside of them that the rest of us don’t. They have a drive to serve, a passion to protect, and a belief in sacrifice. They don’t do it for the money, and they don’t do it because it’s comfortable-they do it because they are called. I call those people heroes, and Corporal Bailey and Trooper Workman were heroes.
What happened in Clay County was absolutely terrible. It’s still hard to understand; there just aren’t any words for a tragedy like this. Corporal Bailey left behind three children, and Trooper Workman was just beginning his life. I can’t imagine the pain their families are experiencing right now. As I told them earlier this week, I hope they are able to find comfort knowing both men are in a better place. And, they couldn’t have gone in a more honorable way.
Joanne and I continue to keep these folks in our prayers, and ask you to do the same. May God wrap his arms around the families of the two great heroes, and may God bless the law enforcement officers across our state who work each and every day to make sure we are safe.