By Erica Kearns
Complete strangers passing through the area of the Clay/Wallback exit of I-79 will forever know of the sacrifice made by Corporal Marshall Bailey and Trooper Eric Workman in August of 2012.
A large crowd of family, friends and fellow law enforcement officers gathered at the Wallback exit Thursday for a special ceremony to dedicate both North and South bound I-79 bridges and a small section of State Route 36 where the shooting incident took the lives of both men. Signs bearing the names of Bailey and Workman are now placed at these sites, serving as a permanent memorial to the two men who died serving our community.
West Virginia State Police Chaplain Jim Mitchell spoke of Cpl. Bailey and Trooper Workman, saying “They were great guys, they were very dedicated to what they did but they were also community orientated. They loved being around the people, they loved working with people and both of them were also men of faith.”
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin asserted “Everyone who travels this way will know about our friends, our protectors and our heroes.” Along with the makeshift memorial at the interstate overpass, permanent signs now stand erect as a reminder of the sacrifice made by Cpl. Marshall Bailey and Trooper Eric Workman.
Workman’s sister Rebecca King recited a poem that held a very special meaning to their family during their time of healing as well as read John 3:16-17. Marshall Bailey’s brother Justin also spoke, conveying his appreciation for the support his family had received. Bailey was a 17 year veteran of the WV State Police and had spent most of his career working in Clay County. “I think it’s fitting that Marshall’s name will be here with the people that he loved and protected and the people that he gave his life for,” Justin Bailey said. “I know there will always be a special place in my heart for the people in Clay County and I know for sure that Marshall was proud to be one of them.”
West Virginia State Police Col. C.R. “Jay” Smithers and Governor Earl Ray Tomblin also honored Bailey and Workman with a posthumous award, the State Police Cross, which was given to their families. The State Police Cross is an award bestowed in honor of officers who have lost their lives in an honorable fashion. Corporal Marshall Bailey and Trooper Eric Workman are the definition of honor.