BUCKHANNON – An Upshur County’s sheriff’s deputy was honored by his peers last week for his devotion, courage and professionalism while discharging his duty.
During a promotion and COVID-19-related recognition ceremony, Upshur County Sheriff Dave Coffman, Captain Mark Davis and Chief Deputy Mike Kelley recognized newly minted corporal – formerly deputy – Tyler Gordon with a Merit Award for his exceptional service to public safety in Upshur County.
“This next award is presented to the officer who has performed in a manner that is [outstanding] in the realm of his duty,” Davis said. “He has shown, courage, ability and devotion in the field of law enforcement.”
Kelley and Davis explained the award was a long overdue one being given to Gordon for responding to a July 21, 2016 911 call – one that could have gone south fast – “quickly and professionally in the discharge of his duty.” Sheriff’s department officials said Gordon had been dealing with a situation in which an individual “retaliated with life-threatening force.”
During the ceremony, which took place Friday, June 12, in the Upshur County Courthouse, Coffman gathered the Sheriff’s Department and courthouse security to honor them for their work and announce several promotions. Coffman presented all the deputies and courthouse security with COVID-19 pins to show appreciation to all the people who have been working during the pandemic.
“I want to give all the guys and ladies, all the security people, something to show our appreciation – something that you can wear on your uniform,” Coffman said. “This is something that we probably never thought we have never experienced in our life. The last five months we ran into this COVID-19 virus, and it hasn’t only been a hardship here at the office, but you also take it home, and I know it’s a hardship on the families.”
On top of presenting the pins, Coffman also announced six deputy promotions and one court security promotion.
“Ever since I’ve been here, these guys have carried their old rank with them and like I said earlier, they have busted their rear ends for us and the county,” Coffman said. “They work hard, and they do an excellent job. [Since this is] my second term and I’m out of here in six months, it was just my goal to do something for them, so I thought was a good time to make these promotions, because they deserve it.”
Jim Vance with courthouse security was promoted to supervisor of courthouse security. Tyler Gordon was promoted from deputy to corporal, Theron Caynor was promoted from corporal to sergeant and Dewaine Linger was promoted from corporal to sergeant. Additionally, Rodney Rolenson was promoted from corporal to sergeant, Marshall Powers was promoted from sergeant to lieutenant and Mark Davis was promoted from lieutenant to captain.
Owner of M&J Outdoors Jonathan Haskins also presented three new pistols through the Upshur County Deputy Sheriff’s Association to deputies Cole Bender, Dakota Linger and Dan Barcus.
Coffman said he has loved is time as Sheriff and he was happy to be able to honor everyone in the department. His term ends Dec. 31, 2020, when he will retire and Upshur County Sheriff’s candidate Virgil Miller, who is unopposed in the Nov. 3, 2020 election, will presumably take over his post.
“I’m going to miss it. For the past seven-and-a-half years, I’ve loved what I have been able to do,” Coffman said. “Hopefully I’ve done a good job, I’ve tried to do a good job, but I think the public is aware that I’ve been under the weather, so my goal is to make it to Dec. 31 with the Lord’s help and then I’ll be ready to retire.”