Lincoln County Journal

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Connells continue service, sheriff wants to expand W.I.S.H program

Posted on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 8:20 am

For Larry and Arlene Connell volunteering over seven-years of service at the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office has flown by. In 2006, Sheriff Torres pitched the Welcoming In Senior Helpers (WISH) program as an avenue to give back to their community.

“Dan Torres used to go to school with my boys so it was a no brainer,” said Arlene Connell. “At first, I did not know if we got the position, it took several months to get through the sheriff’s office background check.”

Larry and Arlene Connell

Larry and Arlene Connell

Little did they know they would spend the next seven-years volunteering one-day a week at the sheriff’s office.

Over the years, Larry Connell can be seen mending and fixing furniture throughout the office. “I have installed over 300 beacon lights for seniors throughout Lincoln County,” said Connell.

In fact, Connell donated shelving to the sheriff’s office he personally built and fixed countless tables and chairs.

Larry spent several years in the U.S. Army training soldiers on the M14 during the Vietnam era. He later retired from Boeing in 1999. Arlene retired in 2005 after 29 years working for the Troy R-III School District.

“I am very thankful for the time Larry and Arlene spend at the office. They have become part of the sheriff’s family over the years and we enjoy their company,” said Sheriff  John Cottle. “They have truly made a difference in the lives of my staff and me; I hope they stick around for another seven-years.”

“Larry and I do not volunteer our time for recognition, we just want to give back to the people of Lincoln County,” said Arlene.

In 2006, Lincoln County Sheriff Dan Torres started the Welcoming In Senior Helpers (WISH) program as a way to incorporate the skills and expertise of senior citizens into the Sheriff’s Office.

The WISH program gives seniors a greater insight into the day to day operations while helping to enhance the sheriff’s office.

In June of this year, Sheriff Cottle began modernizing and implementing a paperless records division. In the past, police reports and other documentation were once printed and placed in folders for safe keeping. Now, they are scanned and held in a secure server.


“We knew this process was going to be a large undertaking but it only makes sense in the day we live in,” said Sheriff Cottle. “Our seniors in Lincoln County are extremely skilled and can help us achieve our paperless goal.”

WISH program volunteers are asked to commit a few hours a week to help with light clerical work.

Lincoln County senior volunteers who participate are treated to lunch on the days they volunteer. The WISH Program is only available to senior citizens, 55+ years old, residing in Lincoln County.

Seniors must fill out an application and pass a background check. WISH program applications are found at the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office. Any senior resident experiencing transportation issues can call and have a application delivered to their residence by a deputy.

Volunteer applications are also found on the Sheriff’s website, under the forms section.