Kathleen Warren sifted through photos and letters of her late husband that reminded her of the man with whom she spent much of her life.
She met Chuck Warren more than 40 years ago, while nursing the wounded Utah Highway Patrol trooper. On Sept. 2, 1969, a car thief in Springville shot Chuck Warren twice in the head while he was on duty. Warren survived, but the left side of his body and his legs were paralyzed.
In the wake of the shooting, letters of thanks for his service poured in from around the country. Newspapers ran stories and people photographed the community’s rallying support for the now-disabled officer.
Warren and his family collected it all and saved it in a box — which, after collecting dust in one of Warren’s old homes, was returned Sunday afternoon.
Wyatt Scott, 15, and his father walked into Parkway Health Center, a rest home in Payson, and handed the box to Kathleen Warren. A couple of months ago, the Scott family moved into a Payson home that Warren used to live in. They found the box in the attic.
"This is really something super," Kathleen Warren said. The couple spent about 20 years together until Chuck Warren died in 1994. "He loved to keep everything."
On Sunday, Kathleen Warren recalled one particularly foggy night when she was working as a nurse. She was worried about getting home from work. Warren, then her patient, told her to phone him when she arrived home safe and sound. She could not call him directly, so Warren, ever the concerned trooper, called her instead as soon as she got home to check on her.
It became a habit that kept up each night, and eventually they married.
Even on his deathbed, Warren was looking out for his wife. At the hospital, he noticed dusk was setting in and told Kathleen Warren that she should be getting home before the streets darkened. He died hours later.
"He was such a considerate person," she said.
Chuck Warren’s injury prompted then-Gov. Calvin L. Rampton to enact a law, named after Chuck Warren, that allowed the trooper to keep serving as a member of the UHP. The law makes it possible for a state trooper, who is completely disabled because of a criminal act involving a deadly weapon, to receive full compensation until retirement at the age of 62, or after 30 years, whichever happens first. The law is still in effect today.
Chuck Warren tried time and time again to write a book about his life. He never did, but the large collection of photos and letters now in the hands of his beloved widow tell stories on their own — of a loving husband, a dutiful trooper, a life well lived.
Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.