Small town unveils only permanent police memorial in Southern West Virginia

GARY, WV (WOAY) – The only permanent police memorial in Southern West Virginia was unveiled.

Gary Police Chief S.P. McKinney says he is happy to see such a great crowd turn out for the unveiling. 

“This is a great turnout, it’s a Saturday afternoon. We have the corona scare and all that and people are still out. And I just think it shows support for law enforcement officers,” McKinney said. 

The memorial features three flags and a triangular base, and it was built in roughly two weeks. Most materials were donated and the town ended up spending barely more than $100 to build the memorial.

“We’ve had so much support. All the equipment was donated, the flags were donated, food was donated. We paid $120 for paint and the crews volunteered and painted it.” 

The memorial isn’t fully complete though. They still plan to add a guest book for visitors to sign and a few other additions.

Virgil Green, a local pastor and retired police officer says he’s grateful for the memorial and believes it’s long overdue for a police memorial to be built in Southern West Virginia. 

“It’s overdue. It really surprised me that it’s really the only one in Southern West Virginia all together,” Green said. 

Green hopes the memorial serves as a reminder that small communities do care about their law enforcement officers, and he’s happy that there is now a permanent memorial for fallen officers. 

“Hopefully this sends a message to active police officers and former police officers and families of those that have fallen that people do care and they’ve not forgotten.”

Many towns will often hold events and parades to honor officers, but this memorial outside of Gary City Hall is currently the only permanent, physical location in southern West Virginia meant to honor all fallen police officers.