DENVER — Denver7 viewers have been sending 7Everyday Hero nominations every week for more than 20 years. We get them from pastors, kids, teachers, people from all walks of life. All of them wanting to recognize an outstanding volunteer.
Our latest outstanding volunteer was surprised with the award with a little help from a local sheriff.
Trying to protect an entire county is a big job.
In Douglas County, that job is made easier thanks to community safety volunteers like Walt Wohlgemuth.
"It is composed of citizens like myself who have an interest in law enforcement," Wohlgemuth explained.
The community safety volunteers or CSVs work side-by-side with Douglas County Sheriff's deputies.
"The whole point is to take away the mundane tasks from our deputies so they can concentrate on more serious, priority-one calls and that sort of a thing," Wohlgemuth said.
Walt started the Douglas County CSV program in 2006.
"Walt is the energy behind the program. He's the one who starts the academies. He brings people into the academies," said Douglas County Undersheriff H.A. Nicholson-Kluth.
There are more than 60 CSVs in Douglas County, just like Walt. All of them are ready to serve the community and save deputies a lot of time.
"When an officer stops for a traffic investigation and then gets another call, the community safety volunteer can finish that up and then the officer gets back on duty," Nicholson-Kluth said.
"I get a lot of, 'Wow, where I came from there was nothing like this. Nobody came to our house to help us out,'" Wohlgemuth said.
And by volunteering their time, the CSVs save the people of Douglas County millions of dollars.
"He probably puts in close to 40 hours a week. The program itself has donated 225,000 hours over the time it's existed in the county," Nicholson-Kluth said.
And the CSVs' only pay?
"The thanks they give you, the pats on the back. Just the reaction from the deputies. You ask any of us and that's what we live for: Just that thank you," Wohlgemuth said.
To learn more about the Douglas County Community Safety Volunteer program, click here.
Mitch Jelniker anchors Denver7 in the mornings from 4:30 to 7 a.m. He also features a different 7Everyday Hero each week on Denver7. Follow Mitch on Facebook and Twitter. Nominate a 7Everyday Hero here.