Texas State Trooper Ryan Dalton and Ben H. English stand in front of the Donde Esta? monument on the Sul Ross State University campus in Alpine, TX following the Big Bend Area Law Enforcement Officers Association annual memorial service.

Yesterday, I was privileged to attend the Big Bend Area Law Enforcement Officers Association annual memorial ceremony. It was a solemn occasion as four more names were added to our Donde Esta? monument, located on the Sul Ross State University campus.

I knew too many whose names are there now.

But with such sadness and real sense of loss, old friendships are rekindled with other men well worth knowing. Some by reputation, or those I have shared times with when things got a little rough.

I have mentioned their names before in my writings. Carl C. Williams, David Duncan, Jerry Byrne, Ronny Dodson, Jeff Strain, Liam McGrail, Clete Buckaloo and others. Some are now retired and some still wear the badge with honor.

All possess the rare spirit of being willing to spit in the eye of evil, and call it for what it is.

Beyond this was a special treat, my old rookie Ryan Dalton came as part of the attending DPS Honor Guard. This was the same honor guard who recently returned from Washington, DC, after conducting memorial ceremonies there.

That’s us together in front of the Donde Estas? monument.

You know, I probably personally trained nearly a dozen ‘rookies,’ though some were mostly that in name only. Never had a bad one, or one I was ever ashamed of. Each have gone on to make names for themselves, good names, and I hear from them on an occasional basis.

Ryan was my last, and I spoke of him repeatedly in my fifth book ‘Black And White: Tales of the Texas Highway Patrol.’ Now a twenty year veteran, he still works the highways and byways of Crockett County, and the unincorporated community of Ozona.

That thought brings a certain solace to my heart, as it means that in some small, insignificant manner a part of me is still out there too.

God bless, Ryan. I am proud of you.

And to all those others still serving, thank you for standing in the breach. You are prayed for daily.

Stand strong, and never forget what you stand for.

Ben H. English
Alpine, Texas

USMC: 1976-1983
THP: 1986-2008
HS Teacher: 2008-2010

Author of ‘Yonderings’
‘Destiny’s Way’
‘Out There: Essays on the Lower Big Bend’
‘The Uvalde Raider’
‘Black And White: Tales of the Texas Highway Patrol’

Facebook: Ben H. English
Webpage: benhenglish.com

‘Graying but still game’