For Larry and Anita Hamilton, volunteering in the Cole County Posse provides them not only a means to be "productive" in retirement but also a "sense of camaraderie," Larry said.
Cole County Sheriff Greg White and other members of the Cole County Sheriff's Department gathered Friday afternoon to honor the founding posse members for their six years of service.
"They have provided intelligent, focused, dedicated service. They have set the bar," White said.
The son of a deputy sheriff, Larry has always harbored a "weakness for the sheriff's department," he said.
Surprised by the ceremony, Larry said he became filled with emotion and got a "lump in his throat" at the sight of various colleagues and members of the Sheriff's Department gathered for his and his wife's recognition.
"We're a big family," Larry said.
The Hamiltons have served with the posse since its April 2007 inception. They have assisted deputy sheriffs at a plethora of events including the Jefferson City Jaycees Fair, the Tour of Missouri bicycle race, DWI checkpoints and visitation within the Cole County Jail.
The Hamiltons have enjoyed "giving a helping hand," as well as the "good warm feeling of belonging" among members of the posse.
"It gives you a great sense of pride. Regardless of the number of hours (worked), you're eager to go the next day," Larry said.
According to White, the Hamiltons have worked "unprecedented hours" as members of the posse.
"The posse is a tremendous organization. It is a cost-saving operation. We can do more with less. They (the Hamiltons) are a prime example of that," White said.
As a result of their useful insight into visitation operations in the Cole County Jail, jail staff have improved visitation policies, White said.
White characterized the posse as a "tremendous organization," as he presented the Hamiltons with certificates of appreciation on behalf of the Sheriff's Department.
"The construct of posse to give citizens a chance to blend with on-duty law enforcement. They stand in the gap between those who do evil, and those they are sworn to protect," White said.
"They are doing incredible things," White said.