WEBSTER SPRINGS, W.Va. — The West Virginia Division of Highways’ new Webster County headquarters building has been dedicated to an employee who died in 2017 when the prior headquarters building caught on fire.
The WVDOH said that Stephen Cogar, 22, was killed when a fire broke out at the old DOH building in December 2017. District 7 District Engineer Brian Cooper, P.E., said a plaque would be installed at the new building in Cogar’s memory.
“Remember this special day,” said Brian Cooper as he addressed those gathered at the groundbreaking. “I was troubled about what to say. I’ve got conflicting emotions. On one hand, I am excited to break ground on a new facility. Nearly four years ago, a fire destroyed our old headquarters, left us without a home. We had to scramble around quickly and find an area we could lease and operate out of. Our employees adapted and continued to serve the citizens of Webster County, they’re very deserving of a new facility that we’re going to construct here at this site.”
Cogar’s father, mother and sister were in attendance at the groundbreaking ceremony on Sept. 10. Cogar’s father is a retired WVDOH employee, appreciated for his years of exemplary service to the citizens of West Virginia, according to the WVDOH. The younger Cogar had already proven himself to be a diligent employee at the time of his passing and is fondly remembered by his co-workers throughout the state.
“On the other hand,” said Cooper, “I have a feeling of reverence and sadness. Not only did that fire take our building. It took something that couldn’t be replaced, and that was the life of one of our employees. Stephen Cogar, a young man who just started his career with highways, was very well liked, very well respected among the community, and his co-workers.”
Deputy West Virginia Transportation Secretary Jimmy Wriston, P.E.; State Highway Engineer Alan Reed, P.E.; Chief Engineer of Operations Greg Bailey, P.E.; and Operations Division Director Jake Bumgarner, P.E. joined other central office staff, Cooper and other Webster County WVDOH employees for the groundbreaking.