Community gathers to remember Mingo County sheriff
More than 100 bikers from around the region rode into Mingo County this weekend to take part in the "Poker Run" memorial ride in honor of Sheriff Eugene Crum.
Crum was murdered in early April while eating lunch in his car.
WYMT is reporting that the ride began in Williamson and went past the spot where Crum was killed, then out into Mingo County past his grave.
"Show support [from] us bikers in the area," Kenneth "Cooter" May, a biker, said. "You'll notice there's bikers here today from different areas, us guys from hometown."
May, a former Pike County Sheriff's deputy, said he understands the plight of law enforcement officers when it comes to personal safety.
"When you put a badge on and you go out, it's a target, you're a target," May said.
But May said he is grateful for Crum's work cracking down on drugs in Mingo County.
During his 93 days in office, Crum's department managed more than 50 drug convictions.
"Maybe God needed somebody to clean up the streets of heaven and they wanted him quick," May said.
Rosie Crum, Eugene's widow who was named sheriff after his murder, came to the Poker Run. While she was upbeat most of the time, she dabbed away tears with a tissue when speaking about her husband.
"I'm very saddened, I'm lost. My life has been torn upside down. But I'll get through it with the support of my friends and my families and surrounding areas that have helped me and come together and support me and my family," Rosie Crum said.
When asked what her husband would think of the ride, she said, "He'd just be so proud. I mean, he loved his job, he loved his county, he loved his people, he loved his family most of all. [He] just wanted to make a better place for everybody to live and be happy."
May said he thinks the Mingo County Sheriff's department is making good on Crum's "Zero Tolerance" drug mission.
"The guys that's been here for years is carrying on his legacy of cleaning the streets of Mingo County up," May said, adding that Rosie Crum was a good choice for the job because, after so many years of marriage, she knew the most about her husband's mission.
Jason Thompson, who lives in Chesapeake, Ohio but grew up in Williamson, said it's a big loss for the community.
"I know Eugene and I graduated with his daughter from high school," Thompson said. "My wife lived next door to them growing up, everybody knows him."
He said he sees a change in his community.
"It's like a lot more somber atmosphere, I think," Thompson said. "Everybody's just kind of, I think, still in shock. Stuff like that really doesn't happen that often around here, so when it does it really hits hard."
The ride was originally scheduled for early May as part of Rally in the Valley, but it was delayed because of rain.