Even after serving the community for nearly 15 years, Don Trotter of Hesperia couldn't help but be nervous when he was awarded a plaque for being named the Citizen on Patrol of the Year for the entire High Desert.
"There were a lot of captains there," Trotter said. "It was pretty intimidating."
Trotter was recognized for his standout year by top San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department deputies during a Nov. 7 ceremony in Highland. But according to the rest of the Hesperia COP unit, every year since he first began has been just as outstanding.
"This award is probably long overdue," said William Warren, a fellow COP Officer.
Since the day he started, those around him say Trotter has displayed a hard work ethic and a sincere dedication that has culminated into two terms as the unit's elected commander, along with his current position as the sergeant of arms. Yet, Trotter's enjoyment has never diminished over the years even with serving as the unit's most tenured volunteer.
"I love what I'm doing because it allows me to give back to the community," Trotter said.
From patrolling the streets, assisting with DUI checkpoints, looking for missing people or watching over the houses of families on vacation, Trotter takes great pride in being the eyes and ears for the deputies. With April indicating Trotter's 15th year with COP, he couldn't be happier with his line of work.
After spending 25 years working as a driver for American Linen, it only took one year of retirement for both Trotter and his wife, Alloma, to realize that he had too much time on his hands. Trotter soon began searching for a hobby, and when Alloma found an advertisement in the paper to volunteer for the Hesperia COP it seemed to be a perfect fit. Volunteering up to 20 hours a week, Trotter continues to serve the community, always with a smile on his face.
"Everybody just loves him," said Elaina Castillo, who was the secretary that hired Trotter 14 years ago. "He's friendly with everyone."
While the 60-member unit has a great deal of fun in joking around with Trotter — giving him names such as "coupon cutter" — it does not take long to see the level of respect and admiration that they have for him.
"The way he always makes sure everything is done correctly and the way he cares about the citizens has really kept me and everyone else in line," Warren said.
While Trotter has sacrificed so much time to his volunteer work, he said he can't think of a better way to spend his retirement. The fact that he has now been recognized for his hard work makes it all the better.
"It's a lifetime award for me," said Trotter, who has no plans to stop volunteering anytime soon.