By: Roger Wolfe | Posted: May 27, 2018 | Source: Williamson Daily News
On a fateful evening in August of 2012 in Roane County two West Virginia State Police (WVSP) Officers were gunned down during what should have been a routine traffic stop. Corporal Marshall Bailey and Trooper Eric Workman were killed in the line of duty.
The death of the officers marked a dark day, one of the worst losses the WVSP has experienced in the existence of the agency as it lost two officers in the line of duty. The loss of the officers is felt by many still today.
Both officers were known as great role models for all that knew them. Trooper Workman was known in particular for his many athletic accomplishments and his love for the outdoors.
Workman was an avid hunter and fisherman and spent a great deal of time pursuing the muskies anywhere they could be found. Since his death, his family and friends have found a fitting way to honor the young man and help promote the things he felt so passionate about.
Shortly after his death, the Trooper Eric Workman Foundation was formed to honor the fallen officer and the first Eric Workman Memorial Muskie Tournament was held. This year will mark the 6th Annual occurrence of the tournament.
The growing muskie fishing community across the state has gotten behind and gotten involved with the annual event and it is an enormous success each year. This year the event will kick off at 12 a.m. on Saturday, June 2, 2018 on waters all over the state of West Virginia.
The event culminates on Sunday, June 3rd at 2 p.m. with a banquet and awards ceremony. The contest and the prizes aren’t the end of the story for this tournament.
The proceeds from the event are used for the betterment of the resources that Workman loved and for educational outreach and drug prevention programs around the state.
The Foundation also provides a $1,000 scholarship for a deserving Clay County High School student in Workman’s honor.
Over the previous years, the foundation has gone above and beyond to help the WVDNR improve muskie fisheries all over the state. The foundation has provided much needed items such as fathead minnows, a favorite food of growing muskies, to state hatcheries to help grow out fingerling muskie to be stocked all around the state.
The foundation has also donated various equipment to help the fisheries biologists do their job and monitor the progress of muskie statewide.
Equipment such as electric fish handling gloves which greatly help the biologists in the harvesting of eggs from wild muskie to be raised at hatcheries for stocking.
The foundation has also purchased PIT tag readers that enable anglers to scan tiny tags that have been implanted into previously caught fish and identify the fish, so they can collect data about the particular fish to help the WVDNR keep track of growth rates, fish movement and event harvest information.
The foundation is continually finding ways to help promote and protect the resources that Trooper Workman cared so deeply for. Each year the tournament continues to grow proving that even in tragedy, good things can continue to prosper.
The tournament is catch and release only and each angler is encouraged to quickly snap the required picture and return the fish to the water unharmed. It is great when anglers come together for some great fun and it is even better when it is for a wonderful cause.
Our officers and first responders aren’t thanked enough for all that they do and for putting themselves in danger to protect us and the resources we all hold dear.
Even in the horrendous event that took two dedicated officers, it is comforting to know that in the memory of those lost they are being honored by promoting the things that were near and dear to them. Even in the absence of Trooper Eric Workman, he continues to make an impact on fish that he loved.
For more information on the Trooper Eric Workman Foundation or the upcoming tournament, check them out at www.eworkman.org or look them up on social media. There is still time to get registered and get out and chase some muskies at your favorite fishing spot and help a great cause in the process.
Roger Wolfe is an avid outdoorsman and has spent most of his life hunting and fishing and writes a weekly outdoors column for HD Media. He is a resident of Chapmanville and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.