CANYON CITY – Dean Elliott thought he was going to the Courthouse to answer a few questions about search and rescue, and how things were done in the old days.
Imagine his surprise when Sheriff Glenn Palmer presented Elliott with a plaque honoring his 40 years of service to the community as part of the sheriff’s posse and search and rescue unit.
“It’s time to recognize his dedication to the community,” Palmer told the Grant County Court. The presentation came at the April 17 County Court meeting.
“You know how to make a guy feel humble,” Elliott responded. “Thank you so much.”
Elliott’s tenure as a volunteer for the sheriff’s department started in 1973. He said for years he thought that being on duty was “just what I was supposed to be doing.”
He said he could write a book about his experiences, serving under five sheriffs and going out on a wide variety of incidents and patrols.
His start was an offshoot of his work, he recalled.
“I had the old drive-in theater, and I wouldn’t let everybody run wild in there,” he said. “Those places were known for that kind of thing.”
The sheriff at that time said, “We should just swear you in as a deputy.”
And so he began his volunteer passion. Over the years, he reported to help find lost hunters, search for fugitives, keep order in the woods, and provide support at marijuana grow busts.
At 83, Elliott admits he can’t do as much as he used to, but he’s still on the active duty list for the reserves and shows up to help with searches, traffic control, and other needs.
“I’ve got the oldest badge in the department,” he said.
Last week’s award meant a lot, he said.
“I hope it might give other people some incentive to give a little bit of their time to public service,” he said.Read more on bluemountaineagle.com.