CHARLESTON - West Virginia State Police secretary Nancy Strope, assigned to Troop 1 at the Wellsburg Detachment, recently received the State Police Superintendent's Civilian Service Award.
In presenting the award during a ceremony in Charleston, Col. C.R. "Jay" Smithers said Strope "has served in an exemplary manner as the Wellsburg Detachment secretary for approximately 37 years."
"I cannot fully describe how important a secretary is to the daily operations of a detachment and the department as a whole," he continued. "The reality is that we live in a day where it is difficult to attract and retain qualified secretaries. Nancy defies the current trend in our society to change positions and jobs regularly."
HONORED — Recipients of the West Virginia State Police superintendent’s awards include, from left, Bill Gallagher, Michelle Watson, Nancy Strope, Jason Howe and Senior Trooper R.A. Marsh, who are introduced by Col. C.R. “Jay” Smithers, at podium. -- Contributed
Smithers added that Strope "represents one of the finest examples I can think of when it comes to selflessly serving others. Besides her work at the detachment, she is actively involved in the annual Apple Festival, the Follansbee Community Days, Fourth of July event planning, a Brooke Hills Park Committee member, president of the Community of Christ Women's Department and many other community events."
In 2004, after a retired trooper's son was killed during combat in Iraq, Strope started a project with the Brooke County Veterans Memorial Park Foundation to create a memorial honoring all Brooke County veterans from World War I to the present. To date, about $600,000 has been raised to complete this project by this fall.
While her daily accomplishments alone at the Wellsburg Detachment qualify her for an award, her involvement in her community really distinguishes her from many of her peers, Smithers added.
Strope joined several others from around the state in receiving a Civilian Service Award. Among the honorees are Jason Howe, a mechanic assigned to Troop 2 garage in Kearneysville, W.Va.; Michelle Watson, secretary to the director of training at the West Virginia State Police Academy; and Bill Gallagher, director of information technology for the West Virginia State Police.
Also receiving the Superintendent's Award was Senior Trooper R.A. Marsh from the Rainelle detachment. During 2011, Marsh made 89 felony arrests, 222 misdemeanor arrests, six DUI arrests and took 176 criminal investigative reports totaling 668 criminal offenses.
Most notably, Marsh was the lead investigator in a case in Fayette County involving stolen property. A family near Danese, W.Va., was known by law enforcement and the community to be involved in numerous thefts of vehicles, firearms and other property. Marsh developed probable cause to serve a search warrant, which yielded 41 stolen vehicles, 61 firearms and various other items with a total value estimated at $300,000.
In an attempt to destroy evidence and intimidate Marsh, several members of the family set fire to some of the seized vehicles while they were stored at the Rainelle Detachment. They also set fire to a West Virginia State Police cruiser. The fire was so hot and intense that it damaged the detachment as well, officials stated.
Smithers said neither Marsh nor the troopers assigned to the Rainelle Detachment were deterred by this act of intimidation.
"Instead, they were tireless in their pursuit of these individuals. Their hard work and determination led to the arrest of four individuals for the arson. Senior Trooper Marsh continues to follow up on leads from the initial investigation even though he and his family have been targets of personal threats from many of the individuals involved," Smithers said.