HOUSTON --They're the men and women who protect you every day -- state troopers, And now those who have died in the line of duty are getting extra recognition for their sacrifices. There's now a memorial program, and we talked with the man who is taking it on as a personal mission. "He was my best friend," widow Laura McDonald said. McDonald is a single mother, now raising daughter Cason without her high school sweetheart and husband, Jonathan Thomas McDonald. "He was my world," McDonald said. The state trooper was killed in a November car crash in Post, Texas, responding to another accident. Five months later, his sacrifice was recognized with a stone monument outside of his Lubbock office. "I don't feel like I have the words to express my gratitude and that's what's hard in this situation because there's people I need to tell thank you to and I don't feel like I have the words for that," Laura said. One of those people was the man who delivered the monument honoring McDonald's husband. His name is Don Metcalf. "I think the thing that upsets me the most is to see a young widow with her children having to carry on without her husband," Metcalf said. He has seen his share of widows, because delivering these monuments every time a state trooper dies is what Metcalf does. From picking up the 800-pound, 6-inch thick stones in Rockdale, Texas, and driving them to wherever they need to go, to setting each one by hand. This is Metcalf's labor of love. There are now 84 monuments all over the state, recognizing what troopers do and what've given up. But as much as Metcalf does this for the troopers, he does it for someone else, too. "He made me promise," he said. Richard Metcalf was Don's brother. "When he got an idea in his head, he did it, that was just the way he was," said Metcalf. The monuments were Richard's idea after he learned that the trooper who cut him a break for speeding was killed a week later. Richard decided to honor trooper Carlos Warren with a monument at the spot where he was killed. "He said a prayer over the monument and after that he got to wondering about how many other DPS people have been killed in the line of duty," Metcalf said. At the time, there were 72, and Richard Metcalf began memorializing every one of them. He enlisted Don's help in his quest, and when he died, Don knew the effort was his to carry one by one, helping bring closure to so many... "I thought the world of him and it's nice to know that everybody else understands that," said McDonald. While honoring a promise to his own loved one -- a promise made in stone.... "As long as there are bad people in the world, there's always gonna have to be good people who go after them and make sure they stand in the way. And I want to be one of the good people," Metcalf said.
All of the trooper monuments are in Texas, except for one. It is in Colorado, and it honors the life of a state trooper, who was killed pursuing escaped Texas inmates known as "The Texas 7" in January 2001.