A True Hero

A man was driving a stolen truck recklessly.  Two West Virginia State Police officers pulled him over, cuffed him, placed in the police cruiser, and called for a wrecker to tow the stolen Silverado truck.

As they waited for the wrecker, the cuffed suspect pulled a gun he had hidden and shot both officers.

One fatally.  The other remains in critical condition.

This story is heart-breaking.

Every time I hear a news story like this, I am reminded that both the officers and suspects are sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers, or fathers.

These are news stories to many, but life-altering, soul-crushing events to some.

Corporal Marshall Bailey, the officer who died, grew up on Poca River and attended Poca High School in my hometown.

He was the brother-in-law of one of my best friends in high school.

He was a Poca Dot.

He had served as a West Virginia State Policeman since 1995, risking his life daily for our comfort and security.

As I watched the tributes to Marshall roll on my Facebook newsfeed, as I watched this afternoon’s press conference, I was reminded of both the good and evil in this world.

The good…hundreds of PHS classmates, police officers, and well wishers showing up , posting, sending condolences, and praying for the Bailey family – including this post from the Virginia Tech police.

Most people truly are good.

The evil…the fallen world in which we live.  A place where a 20-year-old man named Luke can shoot four men in one night and end up dead.  Tragic.

Today, my issues and my to-do list seemed irrelevant and petty as my husband and I prayed for Marshall’s family.

I can see the faces of Earline and Maxie (Marshall’s mom and dad) as well as his brother, Justin, and Justin’s wife, Ashley, and their children.

Incredibly sad.  Undeniably heartbreaking.  So unfair.

I am reminded that tomorrow is not guaranteed.  We have no idea which day will be our last.

Humbling.  Perspective altering.

Please pray for all the families involved.

Psalm 34: 18 – The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.



The full story on WSAZ News Channel 3

“Like” the West Virginia State Police on Facebook


  1. Angie Gatens says:

    This is so true! The good of living in a small town is that when in need the community gathers around the person and their family. I to watched the Facebook feeds pouring in asking prayer for his family. My husband went to school with Marshall and his heart broke for Marshall’s wife, kids, parents and brother. No one is guaranteed tomorrow. When we see something like this it makes us stop and think about what is important and suddenly the to do list is at the bottom.

    • Angie…That was one of my first thoughts…the solidarity and love of all the DOTS. It truly made me stop and think this morning about what’s important, and who I truly live for. Hope all is well with you:)

  2. Ashley Bailey says:

    Sarah, I just finished reading your letter. I am sitting here on my couch with tears rolling down my face. What a tragic loss Marshall is to all that knew him. He was such a giving, caring person. He wore his badge with such pride, their was no denying that he loved being a state trooper. There are no words that can be said to take away the pain. He is in God’s hands now, and I know he is looking down on us. I think of you often and all
    Of our memories in high school. Those memories are sincerely treasured with me
    Always. It was great seeing you over this past summer. You have always been a Wonderful writer, and I am very touchedmissy our words!! I miss you!!!! Love, Ashley

    • Thanks, Ashley…I can’t begin to imagine what you, Justin, and your kiddos are going through. Please know we are praying for you all during this time; the next few days and weeks and months will be difficult. You’re so right – Marshall is in God’s hands now:) He and other law enforcement officers truly are heros, sacrificing day in and day out so we can be safe. Sadly, we only think of and acknowledge their sacrifice when something tragic occurs.

      I think of you often too…doesn’t seem so long since we’ve been in high school;) Our brief Target visit made it seem as if we’ve never lost contact:) I miss you as well…much love to you, friend. Rest in Him in the days to come. He is faithful:)

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