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Simmons sworn in for 13th year as volunteer officer

Ramsay Simmons III recently was sworn in for his thirteenth year as a volunteer officer for the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office.

Simmons is not only a volunteer officer, but Vice-President, Treasurer and Secretary of Elberta Crate & Box.

“Elberta Crate has been around for 114 years,” Simmons said. “My great-grandfather, grandfather and father have always been community oriented and this was my way to be able to give back to the community and the Sheriff and the Chief have allowed me to do this and I feel very blessed for that.”

Simmons originally was a volunteer officer with Dr. Alan Wilson, who was the head of surgery at the time.

Simmons recalls the time he and Wilson were patrolling together and came upon an accident.

“We were the first ones on the scene,” he said. “It was truly a benefit because you had both police and a doctor on scene; he (Wilson) could make a call for Life Flight immediately.”

Not every call is that simple, though.

Approximately 10 years ago, Simmons remembers a call coming out about a man who put his boat in the river and did not return. His wife called it in, as she was concerned.

“The Sheriff was out that night, so he sent me out with a couple of State troopers,” Simmons said.

Simmons, along with the Troopers found the man’s vehicle at the landing and followed the leads into the Mitchell County line. At the time, Mitchell County deputies were tied up looking for an escapee from the jail, so Simmons and GSP continued their search.

GSP called in the helicopter, while Simmons contacted the person who owned property on the river line.

While searching the river line, Simmons and GSP found the man; his boat had capsized and he was in the river.

“We were able to get him out, get him in the car and get him back to his wife,” Simmons said. “It still gives me goosebumps; we basically saved a man’s life.”

This case, along with many others is one of the reasons Simmons loves his work as a volunteer.

“I truly love being involved in law enforcement,” he said. “I work with GOHS and I’ve traveled all over the state working with Hands Across the Border and I’ve gotten to know so many people and it comes in handy. It’s something different; it keeps me thinking and moving.”

However, his volunteer work doesn’t take away from his love for Elberta Crate; he knows they are two completely different animals and he’s not ready to retire from either.

Simmons said, although he loves it he has not been able to put as much time into his volunteer position as he used to. He now commits 4-5 hours a week.

His commitment has not gone unnoticed. Simmons is the only volunteer officer to be made an honorary State Trooper by two different Colonels.

While Simmons still throws himself into the line of duty, he said the biggest change he’s noticed in the past thirteen years is the respect toward law enforcement.

“I think a lot of people look at the job differently,” Simmons said. “A lot of it comes with the way you treat the person; the way you interact. “

Simmons explained when officers come across a person, they are generally at their worst because of the distressful situation they are in.

“People’s emotions are high,” he said. “But, I think Wiley’s got a group of guys who do quite a job maintaining themselves and remaining calm and handling situations.”

Simmons reiterated how thankful he is to be a part of that group of guys and again thanked Sheriff Wiley Griffin and Attapulgus Police Chief Vincent Edmond for letting him be a part of it, through his volunteer efforts for the past 13 years.