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12-03-07, 03:35 PM #1
Connelly Springs embraces dedicated deputy
(Kind of a kewl local story ....)http://www.morganton.com/servlet/Sat...h=%21frontpage
Connelly Springs embraces dedicated deputy
By Scott Robertson
Sunday, December 2, 2007
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Scott Robertson (The News Herald)
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MORGANTON - Imagine the town you work in likes you so much they decide to pick up your salary. That's pretty much what happened to Clay Roberts.
Roberts is a deputy with the Burke County Sheriff's Office assigned to Connelly Springs. Recently, the town voted to pick up Roberts' salary in order for the county to be able to assign an additional deputy to help Roberts.
His work ethic has prompted the town's desire to get Roberts some help, according to Mayor Carl Greene. "He's forevermore helping out those in need," Greene said.
"Clay is a very positive influence in our community," Janine Barus, Connelly Springs' town clerk, said.
The proof does appear to be in the pudding. Barus said that the crime rate has been cut in half since Roberts has been assigned to Connelly Springs. A deputy in Burke for almost 21 years, Roberts has worked the Connelly Springs area for the past two.
"He's been on the force long enough to know what's going on," Mayor Greene said. "He's down-to-earth. He's just super. He really is."
Barus agrees, citing Roberts' people skills with his success and popularity. "He gets along with the businessmen here and they like him."
Greene says even those who have found themselves on the wrong side of the law seem to respect the deputy. "I've seen him talking with people he had arrested in the past," Green said, "and there's no animosity there."
Roberts is also known for his involvement with the community. Jan Murphy is director of the Shekinah Food Ministry of Oak Ridge Baptist Church. The ministry supplies more than 600 needy families with groceries each month. Murphy says that Roberts is always more than willing to lend a hand. "He helps us with just about anything anytime we've ever needed him," Murphy said.
Murphy can think of one time, however, when Roberts refused to help. The ministry distributes groceries on Mondays and Thursdays and sometimes, Murphy says, the traffic becomes problematic. One day recently when the traffic seemed especially bad, Murphy said she called Roberts on his cell phone for help. "The connection was bad and I was having a hard time hearing him," Murphy said. "But, I kept hearing him laughing." Murphy said she didn't see the humor in the situation until reception improved and she could hear Roberts explain.
"He said he couldn't help because he was in New York on vacation," Murphy said. Roberts told Murphy he was standing in front of the Statue of Liberty when he fielded the call.
Roberts probably made an impact there as well. According to his wife, Amy, a nurse at Frye Regional Hospital, Roberts makes friends wherever they go. "Even when we went to Mexico," she said.
Amy said her husband of three years is very dedicated about everything he does. "He's a very devoted husband and father," she said. "He's very devoted to his profession, too." She attributes his success to his ability to balance being authoritative with being compassionate.
Roberts is quick to deflect the praise. He credits the people and leaders of Connelly Springs for their support and character. As for his helping the community behind the scenes, like with the food ministry, Roberts says the real credit needs to go to the seniors who make that ministry possible.
Spare time is not something a Burke County deputy with a working wife, a three-year-old son and an athletic teenage daughter has, but Roberts does find time to play sports and teach martial arts and self defense in the community. He spoke to The News Herald while squeezing in a quick wash and wax job for his daughter's car. The 41-year-old deputy is soon getting some young blood infused. James Huffman has been chosen to assist in Connelly Springs. "He's been with the department for a couple of years," Roberts said. Huffman will join Roberts as soon as the department works out the scheduling. Huffman, it seems, will have a worthy and respected mentor in Connelly Springs.
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia
12-03-07, 03:48 PM #2
Thats cool, kind of a Andy in Mayberry story. It's nice to know you can still find places like that.
Pretty women make us BUY beer. Ugly women make us DRINK beer. --Al Bundy
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