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Sheriff’s office salutes include retiring father, son deputies, K-9

JANELLE PATTERSON The Marietta Times Deputy John “Big John” Underwood Sr., is recognized for his service with his son, Deputy John “Nick” Underwood Jr., at the pair’s retirement ceremony Friday at the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

From tales of “seeing double” to drug seizures, search and rescue missions and being called the role models of the office, a father-son retirement celebration Friday filled the Washington County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Division with laughter and memories.

Deputy John “Big John” Underwood Sr., 77, of Belpre, and his son, Deputy John “Nick” Underwood Jr., 45, of Belpre, along with Quick, the K-9 partnered with Nick, were commended for their professionalism and camaraderie as the three retired after 22, 25 and five years respectively.

Big John joined the sheriff’s office three years after his son following a prior career in banking.

“Getting to go on rides with your son and serving the citizens of this county was wonderful, just the time we were able to spend together is priceless,” he said. “One evening we answered a call together and the gentleman had had a little too much to drink so when we arrived he wanted to know our names and was looking closely at our name tags… Then he got a big grin on his face and said, ‘you guys are messing with me.’ We had quite a laugh about that because our name plates were exactly the same. He was seeing double.”

His son said many of his own memories in law enforcement surround the different cases he helped cover and he focused on the companionship of his K-9, Quick.

“I’ve had Quick since 2012, he’ll be 7 years old next month,” he said. “He’s my partner, more than just a pet you come home to because he’s with me 24/7. From the drug stops to the searches he’s always been by my side and I couldn’t be more grateful that he’s retiring with me.”

Major Brian Schuck said he could remember when the younger Underwood was new to the office because Schuck served as his training officer.

“I’d pick him up each night and his dad would come out and shake my hand and tell us to be careful,” he said. “The family support was always there and showed with these two men, even after Big John joined us first as a volunteer then part-time on the force.”

At the luncheon the following were also recognized: Det. Spencer McPeek, Deputy Sheriff of the Year; Officer Lori Greathouse, Corrections Officer of the Year; Pam Sullivan, Civil Division Employee of the Year; Deputy Tyler Stephens and Corrections Lt. Matthew Martin, for saving the life of an inmate on March 2 who tried to commit suicide; Lt. Patrick Gherke, for saving the life of a man who had overdosed on opiates on Aug. 3; Lt. Kevin Hornbeck and Deputy William Johnson, for saving the life of a man who had overdosed on opiates on Sept. 16; Deputy William Johnson for saving the life of a man who had overdosed on fentanyl and methamphetamine on May 28.

Greathouse was also selected as the Sheriff’s Office Employee of the Year to be recognized at the Muskingum Valley Beverly-Waterford Chamber of Commerce luncheon on April 5.

At a glance

Washington County Sheriff’s Office awards and recognitions:

Retired:

¯ Deputy John “Nick” Underwood Jr., for 25 years of service.

¯ Deputy John “Big John” Underwood Sr., for 22 years of service.

¯ K-9 Unit Quick, for five years of service.

Active Duty:

¯ Det. Spencer McPeek, Deputy Sheriff of the Year.

¯ Officer Lori Greathouse, Corrections Officer of the Year.

¯ Pam Sullivan, Civil Division Employee of the Year.

Lifesaving awards:

¯ Deputy Tyler Stephens and Corrections Lt. Matthew Martin, for saving the life of an inmate who tried to commit suicide on March 2.

¯ Lt. Patrick Gherke, for saving the life of a man who had overdosed on opiates on Aug. 3.

¯ Lt. Kevin Hornbeck and Deputy William Johnson, for saving the life of a man who had overdosed on opiates on Sept. 16.

¯ Deputy William Johnson for saving the life of a man who had overdosed on fentanyl and methamphetamine on May 28.

Note: Officer Lori Greathouse was also selected as the Sheriff’s Office Employee of the Year to be recognized at the Muskingum Valley Beverly-Waterford Chamber of Commerce luncheon on April 5.

Source: Major Brian Schuck, Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

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