WEST LOGAN, W.Va. — A local law enforcement officer will be receiving a new and much appreciated piece of potential life-saving equipment at no cost to his town or his agency.
West Logan Police Chief Robert Ward was notified that he would be receiving a bullet resistant vest courtesy of the Trooper Eric Workman Foundation. Ward told members of the West Logan Town Council that he was assisted in obtaining the item by local West Virginia State Police Trooper Silas Belt.
The Tpr. Eric Workman Foundation has a drawing and provides up to $800 to an agency to purchase a bullet resistant vest, for smaller agencies which might not be able to equip an officer with one. Agencies which do not win one year are resubmitted for the drawing again the following year.
“I had heard about the program and decided to look it up online. This being the 21st century, they have a Facebook page. I read all I could and filled out an application. A short while later I received notification that my department would be receiving a bullet resistant vest and that I needed to be fitted properly for it.”
Ward found out that he would have to travel to Kenova, W.Va., for that part to take place. Problem was he was unfamiliar with that area.
“There was a police supply store that used to do that but they were no longer in business. The closest one we could find that did this sort of stuff was Tri-State Uniform and Supply in Kenova,” Ward said.
“I asked around and different people gave me different directions. One person said I should take old Route 10,” he said. “They claimed it was shorter in mileage. Another person told me I should go towards Charleston on the four-way and go on to Huntington as it was shorter in time. Finally I spoke with a friend who told me that even though old Route 10 is shorter in mileage that it is twisting and curving and has hills — as well as coal trucks and farm use vehicles and that when you get stuck behind them it takes a lot longer to get there that way time-wise. He recommended heading towards Delbarton, then Kermit, then Crum and a straight shot past Wayne. That was the way we went on August 19, and it was a much shorter trip than I had anticipated.”
Ward found the journey to be interesting visually.
“There are still old homes and old barns out that way that look like something from a postcard,” he said. Even more interesting was a long stretch of road after Tug Valley High School and before you get to Pritchard where there is very little to be found.
“I was told that is a no-man’s land,” he said. “I think we saw maybe four cars on the road that day. We never saw a single police car patrolling it.”
Once at the law enforcement supply store it did not take long for the measuring to be finished.
“They had a fine selection of police gear there… Joshua Stevens, who handle it from there is a former police officer and police chief… heck of a nice guy. Now it is just a matter of waiting for the vest to arrive… and hoping that no bullets are flying till then. Normally that would have been just a joke, except we had two shooting incidents near here in the past few months.”
West Virginia State Trooper Eric Workman lost his life in the line of duty in August of 2012. Tpr. Workman was an outstanding athlete and avid outdoorsman from Clay County, and is remembered as a dedicated angler with a love of fishing and the outdoors. The Trooper Eric Workman Foundation (eworkman.org) was created to honor his memory and to benefit causes close to Tpr. Workman and his family.
For more information about the good works of the Tpr. Eric Workman Foundation check out this link: http://eworkman.org/index.html
J.D. Charles is a freelance writer and a former reporter for The Logan Banner.