CHILHOWIE, Va. (WDBJ7)— It’s been nearly nine months now since a Virginia State Police Trooper paid the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.
Lucas Dowel, 28, l was honored on Friday with a second bridge dedicated in his honor in his hometown. Family, friends and the community packed the Chilhowie Christian Church, the very same place where Dowell was laid to rest in February.
Dowell was shot and killed while serving a warrant during a narcotics arrest operation in Cumberland County.
“Lucas was one of the best, and will forever be in the hearts and minds of those who grew up with him in Smyth County,” said Col. Gary Settle, the Virginia State Police Superintendent. “This is a great day because we get another opportunity, another chance to recognize this gentleman for a bridge dedication.”
“He was there to protect people from evil and he was willingly and willfully laid down his life and he made an influence on more people than you and I, this whole crowd could ever make,” said Senator Charles Carrico.
This is now the second bridge in Dowell’s memory. The first was dedicated in Amherst County in August.
“This is a monument to Lucas,” Carrico said. “This is something that everyone’s going to see and they’re going to remember the name and they’re going to remember the sacrifice that was made.”
Carrico said during the ceremony that this would be his last bridge dedication as a senator. He said it was an honor to be back home for his final one, especially because he knew Dowell’s parents.
“We were blessed and I am honored to have had the opportunity to be a part of your family and to help through the grieving process,” Carrico said during the ceremony.
Dowell’s mother took time to speak at the podium.
“Lucas knew the risk, every first responder knows the risk yet they still choose to do this work every single day,” Becky Dowell said. “Without men and women willing to put their lives on the line every day as police officers, where would we be? And what kind of world would we live in?”
She played a recording he had made of the pledge. The family found it after their son passed.
“There’s no better way to explain how seriously Lucas took his work as a trooper than to hear it directly from him,” Dowell said.
“This is just a small recognition that we can pass along and back to the family, but it also resonates through the entire agency that we’re committed to making sure we do all the right things at our level to make sure their jobs are as safe as they can be,” Settle said.
At the ceremony, Dowell’s family and brothers that served with him were all given their own bridge signs and were presented with a memorial resolution.
The bridge in his honor is now located on I-81 over Whitetop Rd.
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