A ceremony took place Saturday on the lawn of the Monroe County Courthouse in Union.
Natural Resources Police officers and family members gathered to remember Wesley C. Frame Jr., a conservation officer killed in the line of duty almost 34 years before. They dedicated a stone monument with Frame's likeness etched upon it. They attached a small bronze plaque to the stone.
There's a story behind that little bronze plaque.
Rich Creek is a trout stream that bubbles full-grown from a limestone spring at the base of Peters Mountain. From 1975 to 1994, the state Division of Natural Resources leased a mile of it from a local landowner and managed that gorgeous little stretch of water under catch-and-release, fly fishing-only regulations.
Members of Trout Unlimited poured countless hours of "sweat equity" into Rich Creek to make it more accessible to anglers and to improve habitat for the trout.
Ernie Nester, a member of TU's national council at the time, said members erected fences to keep cattle out of most of the stream, built splash dams to create pools, stabilized the creek's muddy banks and constructed crossing stiles so anglers wouldn't mash down the fences.
The stream was a smash hit. Anglers came from Bluefield, Beckley, Charleston and even farther away to fish for its wary brown trout. And when they came, they quite often had their licenses checked by a one particular conservation officer - Wes Frame.
"He was very conscientious about checking people who were fishing the fly fishing-only section," Nester recalled. "Quite a few members of our [Kanawha Valley] chapter had their licenses checked. For many of them, it was the first time they'd ever had their licenses checked."
Frame took seriously his duty to protect Rich Creek from poachers and other ne'er-do-wells. For a year and a half, patrolling the stream was part of his routine.