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Retired Soldier extends service to Hardin County

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By GREG THOMPSON

After 20 years of service in the U.S. Army, retired Staff Sgt. Terriance Hamilton still carries himself like a Soldier.

He said he always will possess “a military mindset.”

Hamilton, a Bronze Star recipient, joined the Hardin County Sheriff’s Office as a certified court security officer and bailiff in April.

One year ago, before becoming a deputy sheriff, he applied for a dispatch position with Hardin County E-911. Called in for an interview, Hamilton sat before a panel of three asking a barrage of questions.

“(It was) like a military (noncommissioned officer) board I had to go through to get promoted in the Army,” he said. “They were popping off questions pretty good.”

Questions dealt
with various scenarios and how he would
handle each.

Hamilton received a letter about a week following the interview informing him he was one of two in consideration.

He held onto that correspondence.

In the meantime, Hamilton had left his job at the U.S. Army Human Resources Command on Fort Knox to care for his wife, Joyce, who had undergone hip replacement surgery.

Eventually, David Lee, chief deputy for the sheriff’s office, called Hamilton.

Lee said Hamilton had received a strong recommendation by the panel he sat before about a year prior. His character was something that stood out to them. The panel also was impressed by his military record and they were aware of his care for the community as Hamilton and his wife operate The Lord’s Supper Soup Kitchen Mobile Ministry.

Originally from Ozark, Alabama, and one of seven children in a single-parent family, he has devoted his life to helping others.

Lee asked if Hamil-ton would be interested in joining the sheriff’s department as one of its deputies.

While he didn’t have a law enforcement background, he spent his deployment apprehending Iraqis and securing them in make-shift jails constructed by the Army.

“That’s the blunt of my experience,” he said.

Once hired, Hamil-ton was approached by Woody Will of the sheriff’s office and asked if he would consider becoming a chaplain in the department.

He accepted without hesitation.

The chaplain is
ever present to his fellow deputies for any type of need—an illness or death in their family or if something traumatic happens while on duty.

“I could be called out in the middle of the night and go sit with him,” he said.

He said he will pray with anybody on the spot at any time.

Hamilton has what he calls the “Chaplain’s Corner” at the Hardin County Justice Center where he works, which looks much like a small snack haven with lollipops, pretzels, sodas and water—all featuring messages of encouragement.

Deputy Josh Lindblom, Hamilton’s supervisor, has been with the department for 12 years. He said it’s important to have someone with Hamilton’s life experiences on staff.

Lindblom enjoys swapping stories with Hamilton and the concern shown to every person he comes in contact with throughout the day.

“People feel comfortable and they like to confide,” he said. “A chaplain is not just for the people in the sheriff’s office.”

On many occasions, Lindblom said Hamilton has been approached by others at the Hardin County Justice Center seeking advice, prayer or an attentive ear.

Deputy Sheriff John Howe works alongside Hamilton daily. Many situations that occur inside a courtroom can be difficult, he said.

“You may want to bounce that off somebody from a religious standpoint,” Howe said. “A lot of bad stuff happens here and you can talk to him about that and have some comfort.”

To Howe, Hamilton is an example of one who practices what he preaches.

He does not have to say anything, but his demeanor testifies to his Christian beliefs, Howe said, and he feels he is a positive influence.

“If your pastor, your preacher is around here, you’re going to have better behavior,” Howe said. “You may not cuss as much and watch what you say. You can even take it home with you. You act differently for a day, then it’s two days and pretty soon you’re different—in a positive way.”

Hamilton said he sees everyone the same with each special to God, and that’s why he shows them respect and care.