LAURENS – Family members, friends, and supporters of Laurens County Sheriff’s Office Explorer Post 2008 gathered June 1st at the Jaycee Hut in Laurens to recognize and honor cadets at their annual graduation ceremony and cook-out.
Founded in January 2001 by then newly elected sheriff Ricky Chastain and affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, the organization trains young men and women ages 13 to 21 who are interested in a potential career in law enforcement.
Each Explorer cadet receives a uniform, badge, and training by certified law enforcement officers in CPR, traffic laws, weapons safety, driving skills, and other advanced areas of law enforcement.
Prior to the cook-out, cadets were recognized with a pinning ceremony and awards presentations.
New graduates Tyler Kirby, Marshall Wilbanks, and Logan Pugh were pinned with their badges by Sheriff Ricky Chastain following their successful completion of the Explorer basic program.
Timothy Randell “Randy” Crain was presented with the Roger Dale Rice, Jr. Distinguished Cadet award. The award honors Deputy Rice who was killed in the line of duty in July 2011. Crain is the first recipient of the award which was presented by Rice’s parents, Roger, Sr., and Debrah Rice.
Natasha Sherman was recognized as Explorer of the Year while Johnny “Bubba” Wooten, III, was presented with the Joseph Scott Quarles Aptitude award. The aptitude award honors Deputy Quarles who was instrumental in assisting with the Explorer Post’s organization before his death in 2003 in a car accident while answering a call.
A number of ribbons and certificates were awarded recognizing the completion of certain levels of training. Cadets receiving these recognitions include Marshall Wilbanks, Tyler Kirby, Randy Crain, Bubba Wooten, Logan Pugh, Cory Ciemiewicz, Alley Garrett, Amanda Burns, Slater Thompson, Kylah Evans, William Newman, and Natasha Sherman.
Zaxby’s of Laurens, Michael Douglas, and Ken Porter where given special recognition for their support of the Explorer program.
Explorers meet every other Tuesday from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at the Laurens County Sheriff’s office during the school calendar year and from 6:00-9:00 p.m. during the summer months.
For more information on participating in the Explorer program, contact Lt. Marty Crain at 864-871-3465.