Cole didn't wear a vest when he started as a deputy more than 20 years ago. But after three years on the force, he asked for one. He wore that vest for 10 years, more than double its expected lifespan. He wore the next vest for seven or eight years.
"Times have evolved so much in the last 20 years," Cole said, referring to the number of shootings police respond to.
"Twenty years ago when I started, nobody wore their vest. Now there's 10 times as many guys wearing them. I don't think the guys even question it anymore."
He said one deputy wasn't wearing a vest the night of the incident, but the events of that night changed his perspective.
Raynes-Kidder said she doesn't want counties to have to scrape and borrow to provide officers with vests.
"We've had no shortage of senators or delegates wanting to sign on to do this," she said. "Basically what it means is that upon completion at the State Police Academy, they will be issued a vest by the county.
"We surveyed all the counties, and a majority of them were able to get grants or find the money in their budget to do it. But if the county is struggling -- if they can't get a grant or money out of their budget to do it -- we can reach into the Invest fund and get them the funds."
The Sheriff's Association teamed up with WCHS-TV, a local television station, in November to start the fund. So far, they've raised about $16,000.
She said the program isn't exclusive to the Kanawha Valley and the whole state should get involved.
The West Virginia Beer Wholesalers Association pledged support to the initiative Monday by contributing about $25,000. That money will buy about 50 vests.
"It just goes to show that the people of West Virginia, the legislators, the businesses, they care about these men and women in uniform and they want to see them safe," Raynes-Kidder said.
The Sheriff's Association also presented the Combat Cross to Clay deputies Robert Belt, Christopher Legg and Christopher Davis, who were with Westfall that night.
Bailey and Workman's families also were given certificates. Frank Massey, the tow truck driver who also was wounded in the incident, was given a Citizen's Award.
Ashley was hopeful for the bill's passage.
"It's something that does put some mandate on the county governments, but it's something they should have been doing in the past," Ashley said.
Capitol Reporter Dave Boucher contributed to this report.Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at ashley.cr...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4850.