Everyday Heroes, organized by the Gallia County Chapter of the American Red Cross, are nominated for their designation in a certain area by the community. The Law Enforcement Hero award is sponsored by American Electric Power-Gavin Plant.
Keith has touched many lives, through law enforcement, donating blood, being a firefighter, and helping youth in Gallia County.
Keith got his first taste of law enforcement while he was still in high school as a police cadet. He enjoyed that enough that after graduating, he applied to the police department and was hired as a parking meter enforcement officer in 1979.
“You’d be surprised what people will do to try to get out of paying a 50-cent parking ticket,” he said.
Keith was then hired onto the police force in 1980.
He was with the city police for 28 years, retiring in August 2008. While in law enforcement, he trained many of the officers that are on the Gallipolis police force today.
Keith not only arrested the bad guys, but he also helped elderly ladies. While patroling, if Keith got a call that someone’s furnace would not start, Keith would go and happily start the furnace for the individual. Keith knew his job was to protect and serve and he would tell you that you have to do both — one is not greater than the other. Keith also replaced light bulbs for the elderly and caught and removed bats for city residents. Keith also searched for runaway dogs and brought them back to their owners.
Keith talked one lady into giving her four children to Children Services so she could get the help she needed. She went into a rehabilitation center and after she received the treatment she needed, she was able to get her children back.
Keith knew that if she did not give her children up and seek the help she needed, she might permanently lose her children. She was not a bad person, she just had an addiction problem she needed to deal with. She is now living a clean life without drugs and alcohol.
One of the worst days of Keith’s career was May 22, 2007, when former police officer Dave Poling drowned and he could not do anything to save him. Keith helped his fellow officers to deal with the loss of Dave. Keith has also helped other young people deal with the death of people close to them, like their parents.
Keith is now a state fire marshal and loves his new job as he continues to protect and serve the public.
Tickets for the recognition breakfast, set for Thursday, June 18, 7:30 a.m. at the Gallia County Senior Resource Center, are $10 apiece.