Outagamie County sheriff’s deputy honors coworkers at military retirement ceremony

Updated: May. 28, 2021 at 3:57 PM CDT
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - After 30 years in the Army, an Outagamie County sheriff’s deputy is retiring from the military. Deputy Randy Southard will still be patrolling county roads but wanted to celebrate his military retirement with his work family.

In Outagamie County, he’s known as Deputy Randy Southard, K9 handler, field training officer, and SWAT team member. The U.S. military calls him Col. Southard.

He says, “I feel really lucky to do this for 30 years, I’d sign up again tomorrow and do it again, no hesitation.”

After three decades of service in active, guard, and reserve duty, he is retiring from the military. “It’s a culmination of 30 years, wrapping it up, closing the book, getting a chance to serve the country, just a great day for me,” adds Col. Southard.

He chose to have his retirement ceremony at the sheriff’s office because of the support he’s received over the years from the sheriff and his co-workers -- especially during his deployments. Since 2001, those deployments have been a cumulative five years. According to Col. Southard, “I added it all up one day, since 9/11, so the department has had to deal with that as a gap to fill for five years. Not all at once, obviously, but over the course of that long.”

For picking up the slack while he was away, Southard nominated Sheriff Clint Kriewaldt for the Patriot Award through the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. The award honors the efforts made by employers to support citizen warriors and their families before, during and after deployments.

About receiving the reward, Sheriff Kriewaldt says, “It’s great! Randy has been outstanding and all of our military employees that we have, they’re all outstanding. It’s outstanding the unique skill set that they bring to our office -- you can’t replace that. The culture that we try to create here is that we’re a big family, always big in the team aspect, and this is no different. We’re a big family here at the sheriff’s office.”

One that Southard, while returned from the army, is excited to still be a part of as a deputy who will take his patrol tomorrow with his K9 partner.

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