Michael S. Seabolt of the Marietta post of the Ohio Highway Patrol was recently promoted to the rank of sergeant after spending 13 years of his life devoted to the patrol.
Seabolt's duties still include that of a normal trooper, on top of having all of the administrative responsibilities of being the assistant post commander at the Marietta post off Ohio 7.
"I've been doing the job of a trooper for 13 years and I was just ready to try to make a bigger impact on the Highway Patrol and take on some new challenges," said Seabolt, 36.
The recently-christened sergeant is no stranger to hard work. He's been working since he was 13 in his hometown of Fenwick, W.Va., at a wide variety of jobs. When he graduated from high school, however, he already knew he wanted to be a state trooper.
"It was the one of the only things, coming out of high school, that really interested me," he said.
Between then and now, Seabolt hasn't slowed down. He got married, had four children, graduated from the Ohio State Highway Patrol Academy, joined the Marietta post of the Highway Patrol and attained the aforementioned rank of sergeant.
Sgt. Michael S. Seabolt
Occupation: Sergeant with the Marietta post of the Ohio Highway Patrol.
Birthplace: Fenwick, W.Va.
Family: Wife, four children.
Through it all, Seabolt's family has been one of the most important things to him, he said.
"Can you say that I, personally, have a personal, vested interest in my job? Absolutely. Every law officer does," he said. "Our families use the same roads, live in the same community and walk the same streets. Our families do the exact same things at the exact same places. Our job not only affects your family, it affects our family."
Commander of the Marietta Highway Patrol post Lieutenant Mary Pfeifer has known Seabolt for around 15 years. In all of the time she's known him, she said she's seen him fully and personally investing himself in his job, plus dedicating himself to taking on more responsibility-including teaching other, less-experienced troopers.
"Mike is very professional. He genuinely and truly wants to provide a service to the community, and he takes ownership in his community. His family lives here, after all..." Lieutenant Pfeifer said. "This is our home too, you know."
As such, Seabolt and the rest of the troopers at the Marietta post are heavily involved in the community through myriad programs-including Safety Town, Car Teens and OVI interventions-designed to instill a safer environment for drivers and non-drivers alike.
"It's very high on our priorities," he said. "The more that we can educate people and the more opportunities we get...that obviously helps us in our job."
Seabolt said his work within the OVI intervention programs that the Highway Patrol offers is some of the most important work he does.
"The OVI intervention is a special interest of mine... just because I've seen so many families' lives affected by that," he said.
The inherent danger of his job is sometimes a concern, Seabolt said, as he suspects it is for most law enforcement officers.
"We do our best... to ensure we go home at the end of the day, but it's a reality and a possibility that I won't," he said. "I have a very understanding and supporting family and they really appreciate the sacrifices and responsibilities that come with this job."
With the storm and subsequent power outages last month, Seabolt said that his job, which included clearing state routes blocked by downed trees and aiding traffic problems,was taxing, especially when his family's own home was without power for seven days.
"We're affected by these kinds of things just as any other family is. However, since we're one of the first lines of response in that situation, we've got to stay out there. We don't have the ability to go home to our families," he said.
Seabolt said the storm was one of the worst natural disasters he had seen in his 13 years of work as a member of the Highway Patrol.