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From left, Robert Meadows, Deputy Damron, Bill Redwine, Mike Mackin, and Ron Fiel.

The Morehead Optimist Club recognizes Deputy James Damron as part of the annual Respect for Law program sponsored by Optimist International. Deputy Damron has provided untold services throughout Rowan County as part of his everyday routine for more than 32 years.

Retiring from the Sheriff’s Department five years ago, Deputy Damron was lured out of retirement by current Sheriff Matt Sparks to work part-time to supplement the department.

“It didn’t take me long to see that James may have been hired as a part-time deputy, but he puts in full-time hours most weeks because of his commitment to the citizens of Rowan County,” said Sheriff Sparks, who went on to say, “We’re not sure when exactly James sleeps as he is always ready and willing to assist other Deputies when called on.”

While the mission of the Optimist Club is to support youth programs in the community, the recognition of law enforcement as part of Respect for Law is paramount in developing the youth.

“We believe it is important for children to grow up with a strong belief in abiding by the law, respecting law enforcement and doing what they can to maintain peace,” Club President Bill Redwine said. “We hope that our recognition of Deputy Damron will help in this effort,” Redwine added.

The Morehead Optimist Club will make a $250 monetary donation in honor of Deputy Damron to the Kentucky Sheriffs’ Boys and Girls Ranch, the charity of his choice.

In 1965, a new program was undertaken to combat apathy toward crime and the dispensation of justice. With the cooperation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with former Director J. Edgar Hoover taking the lead and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Optimist International began Respect for Law Week.

One of the more visual aspects of this program is the Optimist International Respect for Law Citation, which recognizes citizens for outstanding service at a crime scene by aiding police. This is the fourth most popular Optimist activity with more than 1,500 clubs participating each year.

The Morehead Optimist Club has been participating in Respect for Law for many years and has been active in the Morehead community since 1964. Other programs and service projects that the Club is involved in include an oratorical contest, an essay contest, Tri-Star basketball skills, youth golf and sponsorship of a host of other youth activities through charitable bingo.

Optimist International is one of the world’s largest service club organizations with over 80,000 adult and youth members in almost 3,000 clubs in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico and throughout the world. Carrying the motto “Bringing Out the Best in Youth, in our Communities, and in Ourselves,” Optimists conduct positive service projects that reach more than six million young people each year. To learn more about Optimist International, call (314) 371-6000 or visit www.optimist.org.

For information about the Morehead Optimist Club, contact Bill Redwine at (606) 356-0666.

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