Recently I sat down with Sergeant Chester Ward from the Pender County Sheriff’s Department. Sergeant Ward was like a breath of fresh air. I had spoken with him on many occasions over the phone because he lives out of state and I was always given the same impression. When speaking with him, he never failed to represent his badge in a positive, and warm light.
Simple, Yet Powerful
When speaking with people in the field, I usually ask questions that try to touch on hardships, or challenges. I feel they can shed some light on the trials, and tribulations of their everyday life. I think we as the public are always eager to hear stories or heroic moments and, ironically, sometimes the hero moments are just being there when needed. Simple, yet powerful.
I branched out onto a new leaf with Sergeant Ward at that moment. It gave me pause, and a bit of reflection because it almost stumped me. How can I write about someone so happy? Truthfully, I was semi surprised because I was expecting the opposite. Sergeant Ward gave me a new outlook that I very much appreciated. In saying that, now you can understand the happiness in getting to speak with such a warm, and joyful person.
Finding the Gems
Sergeant Ward has been actively working in the force for about 23 years, and doesn’t expect to slow down anytime soon. While growing, and learning within his career, he shared how he enjoyed getting to move around, and experience different aspects of his job. At the Sheriff’s office he was given the opportunity to work on patrol, as an SRO, and even taught D.A.R.E in his community many times.
As you can expect, he is very invested in his community, and absolutely finds joy in getting to work with kids. He found many things that drove him to keep going, and was passionate about finding new gems that motivated him to do his best. When working with kids he was able to help them possibly avoid drugs or hardships. These challenges gave him ammunition to be the light that they needed to see. Living in a small town he found it easy to create relationships, and bonds that helped his community become a better place, and always enjoyed being a person that they could come to.
“When I was growing up my father was very strict, and I didn’t know why…Looking back I understand now. I get it. He was preparing me for the world, and trying to get me to think about life, and consequences. I needed to slow down before I got ahead of myself. I took my lessons, even when I was mad and learned from them. I was patient with myself, and I gave myself the grace to grow even when I was unsure. That’s what I want to pass on to the kids I work with. Knowledge, patience…and an underlying strength that balances the foundation.
I have a passion because I am about to retire. I hopefully will pass on some of these traits…some of these lessons learned. It’s important for them to know they aren’t alone walking up mountains. They aren’t alone in the confusion. We’ve all been there.”
Sergeant Ward is also a family man, never married but heavily devoted to keeping that foundation and structure in his life. He acknowledged that at times, his family could become worried about his everyday life and the possibilities that are out there. He knows however, that they trust he is doing his best every day to stay safe.
As you can imagine, even the best jobs come with stress and Sergeant Ward loves to take care of those times with some good ol’ traveling. Hiking, getting outside, singing karaoke, and everything in between helps him decompress. He knows that when clearing his mind, and taking care of his mental health then he is of better service to everyone else.
Lessons and Blessings
Can you see why I think he is great yet?
A warm and kind person is hard to come by sometimes, and we definitely don’t always match a badge with that demeanor. We tend to pre-judge, and expect the opposite.
Sergeant Ward is an open book when discussing his life, and his job. His view is enlightening, and it really helps to broaden our vision. Our first impression of someone could possibly be jaded based on the push from social media, or the news. He is a person that persuades you to take a second look. A spokesperson representing honesty, positivity, and perseverance.
“If I could give anyone advice regarding pursuing law enforcement it wouldn’t be to encourage or discourage. I would simply ask if they know what they are getting into? Have they done the research? It’s not fancy cars, or what’s displayed on tv. It’s stressful, and challenging. When I first started we were holding down our force with only three people. We took on a lot and we needed a clear, and balanced mind. There was a lot of stuff that we had to see or do. When you are younger coming into this field, sometimes you aren’t ready for the reality that’s behind the scenes. Someone’s mentality needs to be sound and strong. You have to be ready to learn by doing. There is school, and then there is life. Maturity, and growth come with practice and by doing. They have to trust that they will find their way without getting discouraged. There are many seasons within this journey, and each one brings a new lesson; and If it’s not a lesson it’s a blessing and I require both to grow and learn. These are troubled, and trying times. Suit up, and get ready.”
Focus on the Rainbow
I learned a lot from Sergeant Ward, and admire his positive outlook for his everyday life. I left our conversation feeling rejuvenated, and even felt inclined to reciprocate his mindset. I enjoy meeting people like him. In a way, it’s like therapy to be around a person that keeps a light on inside their heart.
Maybe there isn’t a lot of grit, or grime to Sergeant Ward’s story…but there is a simple beauty…a peaceful storyline that is comparable to indulging in a pumpkin spice latte on the first day of fall…
I embrace moments of revelation, and Sergeant Ward provided a new perspective.
Some people see only the rain…while others...
Focus on the rainbow.