Union Gap memorial honors WSP troopers killed in the line of duty

Union Gap Memorial For Wsp Troopers
Credit: Emily Goodell, KAPP-KVEW

UNION GAP, Wash. — Families, friends and colleagues of fallen Washington State Patrol troopers gathered Friday in Union Gap to celebrate the unveiling of a memorial garden to honor their loved ones’ sacrifices.

“Law enforcement work is selfless work provided for the community,” Capt. Shane Nelson said. “It can get dangerous and you never know what’s gonna happen or when something’s going to go wrong.”

Nelson, who was one of the driving forces behind the memorial, said the idea came about after they held dedications for the 20, 30 and 50-year anniversaries of the deaths of three District 3 troopers killed in the line of duty.

“We came up with the idea of dedicating and identifying a place of remembrance to honor these three fallen troopers and that’s what we’ve created,” Nelson said.

Nelson said the large stone memorial was designed as a centerpiece of the garden and a way to honor the troopers as a group, while the individual memorials include the trooper’s name, a plaque and their story.

“There’s a QR code that you can scan and it takes you to the Washington State Patrol Memorial Foundation page that will give you a complete biography of our fallen troopers,” Nelson said.

  • Trooper Charles Frank Noble, 42, died on Feb. 5, 1972, when he was shot during a traffic stop near Toppenish. At the time of his death, he had served 14 years with the Washington State Patrol.
  • Trooper Raymond Hawn, 47, died on Jan. 17, 1990, when he was hit by a car alongside Highway 12 near Grandview while helping a motorcyclist who had run out of gas. At the time of his death, he had served 21 years with the Washington State Patrol.
  • Trooper James Saunders, 31, died on Oct. 7, 1999, when he was shot while conducting a traffic stop in Pasco. At the time of his death, he had served 8.5 years with the Washington State Patrol.

“To be totally honest, when I came out here, I got a little teary-eyed because it’s a big deal to honor our fallen troopers,” Nelson said.

The memorial is open to the public and located outside the Washington State Patrol office at 2715 Rudkin Rd. in Union Gap.

Nelson said the funding for the memorial came from the Washington State Patrol Troopers Association, Lieutenants and Captains Association, local law enforcement agencies and business owners throughout the seven counties that make up District 3.

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