When Dale Kephart turned 76, he embarked on a new career as a volunteer for the . And at 93, he's still on the beat.
He was honored for his service ealier this month by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, which chose Kephart as the "Volunteer of the Month" for December.
Kephart, a Santee resident, spends most of his time at the Lemon Grove Sheriff's Station, but has also volunteered at the Sheriff's storefront in Casa de Oro.
He said he has always be interested in law enforcement. "If the opportunity was available at the time I was young, I would have jumped at the chance to be in law enforcement," he said. "I think there's a great need to stabilize our communities."
Kephart works four days a week at the Lemon Grove station, taking Tuesday and weekends off. He doesn't have to be in to the station until 8 a.m., but he arrives every morning at 6:30 to deliver patrol cars for repairs and service. He drives the cars all over the county, from Lemon Grove to Santee, Rancho San Diego and Kearny Mesa.
Kephart first became interested in volunteering in 1993 when he read a notice in The Daily Californian newspaper soliciting volunteers for the Sheriff's Department. He signed up right away.
The first project he worked on was researching lists of Alzheimer's patients in the community so that deputies could use them to locate missing patients. "That's been a pretty good tool for them," he said.
Now, in addition to transporting patrol cars, Kephart transfers information into the computer.
He loves volunteering. "It's a challenge, and it feels like something I have to do and want to do for the Sheriff's Department and the neighborhoods," he said. "And I help with the new guys coming in so they don't get off on the wrong foot. I've never gotten tired of it."
Kephart is adamant that more seniors should like he has. "In my opinion, I think that the Lemon Grove Sheriff's Department is one of the finest groups of volunteers in the county," he said.
"Dale is the type of individual who just likes being around people and interacting with everyone," said Lt. Christine Robbins. "Dale has always loved talking to the kids at special events and always gives encouraging advice to 'do well in school and stay out of trouble.' "