Union County Sheriff Jamie Patton recently named Rod Wilson his 2012 Deputy of the Year.
Wilson currently serves as the public safety officer for Claiborne, Dover and Jackson townships and is on Patton's Project Lifesaver Search Team and the Special Response (SWAT) team.
He also serves as an assistant coach for the Urbana University football team.
"Yeah, what with having three kids, coaching football and having a job that I absolutely love, I'm pretty busy," Wilson said with a laugh. "But I wouldn't have it any other way."
Wilson has worked for the sheriff's department since 2003. His previous assignments have included school resource officer, crime prevention officer and DARE instructor. He also conducted Gang Resistance Education and Training and was a Rap Aggression Defense instructor.
"Rod is an important member of the Union County Sheriff's Office," Patton said. "I believe he is very deserving of this honor. I am proud of his service to the Union County community and his commitment to the mission of the sheriff's department."
Wilson said he most enjoys meeting new people and helping them. "Everyday is something different," he said. "If you work in a factory, I'd imagine one work day is pretty much like another. But I never know what I'm going to encounter after I get in to work."
As a public safety officer, Wilson is not only responsible for law enforcement but also for making fire and emergency service run.
"Back in October, we were out on a run with a man suffering from a heart attack," Wilson recalled. "He was unconscious and we had to shock him a couple times. I guess the five of us saved his life. I can't tell you how gratifying that is."
Wilson attended Urbana University on a football scholarship. He wore many hats on the football team, playing receiver, defensive back and linebacker, "really whatever they needed me to do."
He has transferred that willingness to help in any way possible to his new job. "If I get into an altercation with a suspect I'll subdue him, but if he's injured in the process I put on my EMT hat and will immediately begin to work on him."
He enjoys his work on the Special Response Team because it is a collaborative effort.
"I love the team aspect of SWAT," he said. "If I'm turning a corner of a building, I have to know where the rest of my team is going to be and that the guy next to me has my blind side."
When asked about his job, Wilson speaks first of helping others, next of meeting new and interesting people. He doesn't mention guns or bad guys or making arrests.
"If I can make it through a work day and I haven't written a ticket or made an arrest, that's my definition of a good day," he said.
Wilson has been married to his wife, Alisa, for 11 years and has three children, Riley, 9, Reyse, 6, and Raygen, 4.