VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - We've always been told in life to use what tools we have to make a difference in this world.
Well there's one man who literally uses his tools to help taxpayers in Vigo County.
A man who keeps Vigo County Sheriff's Deputies on the road and money in your wallet.
74-year-old Chuck Hilton of Terre Haute is using his tools to do some good. Hilton's been a Reserve Deputy with the Vigo County Sheriff's Office going on 35 years.
The last eight years he's managed the entire fleet of squad cars.
"Changing oil, changing tires… I'll tell ya, it is probably saved us in the course of the past eight years tens of thousands of dollars in just what they've been able to do without us having to take it somewhere,” explained Vigo County Sherrif Greg Ewing. “And the cars out of service because they are really good about getting our cars turned around so they're back out on the street.”
A huge savings for tax payers and getting the cars out on the roads faster means deputies can work to keep our streets safe.
Hilton's a retired shop teacher in the Vigo County School Corporation. The administration allows him and his partner to use Terre Haute South High School's auto warehouse.
That too cuts down on cost for the Sheriff's Office.
And with squad cars coming and going from the school, it's added visibility and safety for the students.
“It's really a win-win because now we have that interaction with the students in the shop and the law enforcement officers that are not just going out policing the streets but like chuck working on cars too...”
But it also means Hilton can be a mentor to these students teaching them a trade they can use to someday make a living.
“But it gives the kids maybe a sense of really accomplishing something working on a squad car..."
When we surprised Hilton with his award he was more interested in getting back to work than getting recognition!
But when asked him why he's volunteered over 35 years, his answer was short and simple.
“There's a need...” he told us. “I wanted to be a police officer. I got to do it for a while. I'm too old to do it now....”
Hilton's retiring from the Sheriff's Office at the end of this year. He says he'll continue to tinker but on some antique cars he's got at home.
Described as a man with a servant's heart, Chuck Hilton's talents and tools will be missed by both the Sheriff's Office and the taxpayers.