CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- As the adjutant general of the West Virginia National Guard, I have one of the best jobs in America -- taking care of airmen, soldiers and their families.
I have been fortunate to live my entire life and raise my family in the great state of West Virginia. Although I have always been appreciative of this fact, the last few weeks have shown me we, as West Virginians, are truly blessed.
As I sat through the services of West Virginia State Police Cpl. Marshall Bailey and Trooper Eric Workman, I remembered along with many West Virginians the dedicated public service of two family men. And only days later, we honored Deputy Greg Eplin. The tremendous outpouring of support for these proud West Virginians, their co-workers and their families, was true to form for our people.
I watched police officers from across the nation come to pay respects. I saw citizens line the streets to honor them. I saw people weeping for men they had never met but knew the kind of people they were. I saw hardened combat veterans with tears in their eyes and hands over their hearts saying a last goodbye to two men who made a difference in this world.
I also was struck by the eloquent and heartfelt comments of Gov. Tomblin, State Police Superintendent Col. Smithers and the Bailey, Workman and Eplin family members. The pastors and the State Police chaplain gave wonderful and comforting thoughts and helped us try to understand God's will and plan for us all.
All of these different scenes made me realize just how rich we are to share this place called home. While we may not necessarily all be wealthy in the financial sense -- we West Virginians -- we are rich. We are rich because of our heritage, our commitment to core values, and our sense of decency for our fellow human beings.
After the services for the fallen troopers was over, I began to wonder how we can keep their spirit alive. What can we do to honor such dedicated public servants? What is our responsibility for these riches we have been blessed with?
I believe the answer may lie in the life they lived every day. They were not only brave protectors of our families, but they also gave back to their community. They were active in the church and the lives of young people. They were role models for all of us.
To honor their memories I believe the citizens of West Virginia can become an example for the rest of the United States. Let us lead by example, become a beacon for civility and service to our state, community and nation. Let's show how hard work; following our core values and constructively working to overcome our differences can result in success.
Troopers Bailey and Workman and Deputy Eplin led by their example of selfless service as have other law enforcement, first responders, military personnel and countless civic volunteers. Now it's our turn to go out in this great state and make a difference!
Maj. Gen. Hoyer is the West Virginia adjutant general.