On a stretch of Highway 97 just south of Gilchrist, a memorial sign will soon go up, the first in the state of Oregon east of the Cascades, honoring two fallen Oregon State Police troopers.
Trooper Scott Lyons, 23 at the time of the accident, and Sgt. James Rector, who was 46, were killed when their patrol car was struck by a commercial vehicle on Highway 97 west of Crescent.
"A person dies only once, but the loved ones they leave behind live that loss every day," said Bill Lyons, Scott’s father, at Thursday's unveiling of the memorial sign at the OSP offices in Bend.
Nearly 15 years after their death, a roadside memorial sign is being dedicated in their honor.
"This sign is just another opportunity so that we can heal some of that pain, not only personally, but also as a community," said Bill Lyons.
Being a cop can be a family affair. Bill Lyons, a retired OSP trooper himself, lost his son in the accident. Trooper Scott Rector lost his father.
"When my dad was a trooper, he wore the badge that had the number 717 on it," said Scott Rector.
At the time of the accident, Scott Rector was years from joining the Oregon State Police. However, when he entered the academy, he found something on his bunk.
"A badge with a note on it that said, 'Scott, we saved this for you' -- and sure enough, there was badge 717, so I could wear my father's badge," said Scott Rector. Since his graduation, he has worn that badge.
The roadside memorial sign program was authorized by the Oregon Legislature in 2011. Since then, five have been put up, all in the Willamette valley. The sign honoring Sergeant Rector and Trooper Lyons will be the sixth.