WCO David Grove honored at Greencastle Sportsmans Club

PAT FRIDGEN
Dana and Lucy Grove, left, wait as members of the Pennsylvania Game Commission Ceremonial Unit attach a new flag to a new flagpole at Greencastle Sportsman Club. Both were dedicated in honor of their son David Grove, who died in the line of duty last year. He was a Wildlife Conservation Officer. Richard Walck, right, came up with the idea of memorializing Grove, a club member.

The legacy of David Grove will carry on through a new flagpole, flag and marker at Greencastle Sportsmans Association. The items were dedicated June 12 in a ceremony attended by his parents, Dana and Lucy Grove of Waynesboro, other family, friends, Wildlife Conservation Officers, and members of the sporting community.

Grove, 31, Fairfield, was killed last November while working as a WCO in Freedom Township, Adams County.

Participants in the dedication remembered Grove's faith and his character. Billy Hearn, pastor of Centerpoint Bible Church near Martinsburg, said many people had heard the Gospel as a result of Grove's death. Those who knew him would bear his name on their hearts. And just as stones in the Old Testament book of Joshua served as a monument, the plaque would open up opportunities for people to learn about Grove's service and sacrifice.

Six members of the Pennsylvania Game Commission Ceremonial Unit presided over posting of the colors, the flag coming from Rep. Todd Rock's office. The honor guard stood at attention as one attached the flag and Grove's parents raised it.

Greencastle Sportsmans Club member Bob Guthrie reminisced about the years he was friends with Grove. They met at Mack Truck but, "Dave's mind was always on the outdoors. He was so happy when he became a WCO."

The two fished together and Grove was on the roster of the club for nine years. He attended the events, especially the Ox Roast.

"He was a good guy," said Guthrie. "He had a laugh all his own. He died doing something he loved to do. He was a great man."

A spokesman for the Game Commission called Grove "a wonderful young man. Dave lived his dream. The symbols of the flag are the firm foundation of the nation and Dave stood for all of them."

The plaque read, 'This flagpole dedicated in memory of W.C.O. David L. Grove, killed in the line of duty Nov. 11, 2010.'

Grove became a deputy WCO in 2001, working as a volunteer to assist the department. He started training in 2007 and was commissioned fulltime and assigned to Adams County in 2008.

Christopher Lynn Johnson, 27, Fairfield, was charged with first-degree murder in Grove's death. He was allegedly poaching deer at night when Grove tried to arrest him.