Oklahoma Trooper Honored In Cross Country Trek

Thursday, May 7th 2009, 7:32 am
By: News On 6

By Kirsten McIntyre, NEWS 9 for NewsOn6.com

OKLAHOMA CITY,OK -- Almost 10 years ago, Rocky Eales died in a shootout while serving in the line of duty, but the trooper is being remembered in a coast-to-coast ride.

He left behind a wife, a 2-year-old and a 6-year-old. Alli Eales, the eldest of the children wrote the inspiration behind a "Drive to Remember."

"He was killed when I was 6-and-a-half-years-old, but in that short time we made enough memories to last a lifetime," Alli Eales said.

Alli Eales wrote the letter when she was 12 as part of an essay contest. After winning the competition, she left it by her father's name at the Memorial Wall for fallen officers in Washington D.C.

7/25/2007 Related story: Court Upholds Conviction, Death Sentence In Trooper's Death

Sgt. Steve Gipson got in touch with the Eales family and a friendship soon developed, along with the concept behind the ride.

"I thought we should create a national memorial like this with the names on the hood and drive across the country," Sgt. Gipson said.

For the past three years, Steve and Craig Prystay have done just that, stopping in cities where officers lost their lives last year.

Along the way, loved ones sign their names.

Alli Eales now has her driver's license and for the first time, took part in the ride inspired out of her love for her father.

"I'm glad my dad showed me enough love in 6-and-a-half years to last me a whole lifetime," Alli Eales said. "I'm so very thankful I have him."

The Drive to Remember ends on May 10th in Washington D.C where this year's 141 names will be added to the memorial wall.