In his 10 years with the Delaware County Sheriff's Office, Deputy Ron Vogel has affected the lives of young and old alike through his work with schools and Neighborhood Watch programs.

In his 10 years with the Delaware County Sheriff's Office, Deputy Ron Vogel has affected the lives of young and old alike through his work with schools and Neighborhood Watch programs.

That work did not go unnoticed when earlier this month Vogel received the Medal of Merit from the National Sheriff's Association, an award given to only a handful of deputies throughout the country each year for their commitment to their community, said Delaware County Sheriff Walter L. Davis III.

"This award is presented to Deputy Vogel for the work that he does, and shows the dedication and commitment Ron has made to the citizens of Delaware County," Davis said before presenting the medal at the March 5 county commissioners meeting.

"This is a terrific honor for Deputy Vogel ... and shows what is going on in Delaware County right now. We're very proud of that," said commission president Tommy Thompson.

Vogel is the school resource officer for Buckeye Valley schools and is also the department's liaison for county Block Watch groups.

"I'm very honored and fortunate for being recognized for something I love to do. I truly enjoy my job with the Delaware County Sheriff's Office," Vogel said.

Buckeye Valley Middle School students had plenty to say about him during a recent class taught by the deputy.

"He's really, really awesome and a great teacher," said sixth-grader Joey Leichner, who participated in the recent self-defense course "radKIDS" taught by Vogel.

"He really encouraged us (during the class). He is so patient," said sixth-grader Sabrina Amato.

"He's so supportive and cheers you on," said her twin, Savannah.

At the March 24 final session of the 10-hour course, Vogel took the seven girls and six boys in the class through all the moves they had learned.

"The whole point is to plan your day with safety in mind," he told them. "I know we live in a great place but (personal attacks) could happen to anybody."

If they are approached by an adult, they have no way to know if that person "is good or bad," he said.

"Don't let them get into your personal space."

On a blackboard Vogel wrote the mantra of the class, the steps to take if a student is attacked: "Yell Loud! Hit Hard! Run Fast!"

The program's name stands for "resisting aggression defensively," Davis said, and is designed for children 5 to 12 years old.

"It teaches children to react immediately in a dangerous situation by using what is naturally available to them," Davis said.