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By Investigator Scott Peterson
It is with a heavy heart and a sense of optimism that I bring this year-end message to you. The events of the past months have taken their toll on all of us. We mourn the loss of our friend, colleague, mentor, and hero, Sergeant Ron Helus.
Sergeant Ron Helus
The night of November 7, 2018, will be forever engrained in our minds. A night of sheer terror for most, punctuated by the heroic act of a man who understood the danger he was facing yet still made the ultimate decision to enter a chaotic scene and face the evil that lurked. Ron was a hero every day, but his last unselfish act of duty, honor, and courage will always be remembered by the community he served as a “heroic deed.” For those of us who knew the man, who worked alongside him, who knew his friendship, commitment and the love he had for his family, we will always remember Ron as a man who lived a heroic life each and every day. Every second of life brings us moments we will cherish, anguish about, and learn from. Each second provides us an opportunity to bring forth the best in ourselves and impart a lasting, positive impact on those around us. Ron truly understood that and endeavored to be a great person, a loving husband, father, family man, and a man who put his heart and soul into a profession he so loved (and the second family he cherished so much). To Karen, Jordan, Ron’s family and friends, I want you to know what an honor it was for those of us who served alongside Ron. We will never forget the goodness of the man and the leadership he provided. To my friends, colleagues, and members of Ron’s second family, let us never forget his sacrifice and continue to serve as I believe Ron would want us to, with duty, honor, and courage. Above all, let us create cherished moments like Ron did, for all of us.
Before anyone had time to catch their breath and reflect on our loss, the winds brought forth the fires. It is a testament to each of you how you gathered the strength and resolve to move on from one tragic event to another. I know that many of you were personally affected by the fires, yet you continued to serve while dealing with everything you already had on your plate. In the days that followed, I visited the command posts and was struck with a profound sense of awe. At a time when your minds were consumed by all that had already occurred, each of you rose to the occasion and continued to do what is expected of you, to serve with integrity and pride. Over the many days of deployment, I never once heard a complaint regardless of how exhausted you were both emotionally and physically. You make the Sheriff’s Office the professional and respected organization that it is and that is why I am so proud and honored to serve each of you.
As our careers come to a conclusion, we all want to celebrate. However, the events that occurred at the end of Sheriff Dean’s long career and service to the citizens of Ventura County subdued that. I watched as he conducted his obligatory briefings of the news media following the unfortunate events and loss of a friend, and the inevitable questions regarding his soon to be retirement. I saw a man dealing with sorrow, but also one who spoke with pride about the deputies and other personnel under his command. For Sheriff Dean, that pride was just one of the cornerstones that shouldered the weight of the responsibility he felt for his Sheriff’s Family and the citizens he so proudly served from a Deputy Sheriff all the way to the Office of Sheriff. To Sheriff Dean, I want you to know how much of an honor it was for each of us to have served with you. When the time is appropriate, you deserve the celebration that comes with years of dedicated service. You deserve recognition for your tireless efforts to maintain the relationship between the community and those who worked alongside you and for whom you cared so much for. I have been told that retirement is not an end of a path but the beginning to a journey of new memories and adventures. Thank you for all you have done and enjoy your journey, you’ve earned it.
The passing of the torch has occurred amidst much turmoil. I want to congratulate Sheriff Ayub on his taking the helm of the finest law enforcement organization in this state and the nation. You have become the leader of the best men and women who provide the most professional service to the citizens of this county. Many challenges will be thrust upon you, but your guidance and perseverance will make them opportunities to succeed rather than roadblocks and obstacles to traverse. You have an experienced team of almost 800 deputies and other professional staff standing alongside you to assist with your success. I know you do not take that for granted. I look forward to working with you and furthering your long-term relationship with the association and the employees you lead.
After all that has occurred my main concern is for each of you. If you need to talk to someone, do not be afraid to do so. Whether it be a trusted friend or family member, a member of the peer support team, the Employee Assistance Program, or any other professional, the trauma we recently experienced can be overcome, but the healing can begin only when you allow yourself to do so. There is no need to suffer in silence. Please contact me, any member of the association board or the association itself if you need information to help get you through these trying times. My sincere hope is that each of you can get the assistance you need. Remember to hug those you love and never forget to let them know how you feel about them. May the New Year bring you health and peace.