A Northern Michigan’s sheriff’s office is doing more than enforcing the law, they’re giving back to the community in a big way.
The two term Lake County Sheriff, Rich Martin said he’s started several charity drives in recent years, including, The Sheriff’s Returnables for Charity, The Special Cause Sheriff Patch Drive, The Challenge Coin Sales, and other charity work.
With all of the proceeds go to local nonprofits or charities in the community.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office has donated thousands of dollars. Martin said it not only helps support the community, but it also helps them do their work better.
Martin said 75% of the thousands of dollars given away to local groups in the community came from what developed into the ‘Sheriff’s Returnables for Charity’.
“We started this during COVID when people could not take them back to the store. So, we started taking, you know, had a collection over in Baldwin, a collection in Luther. And then we filled up a storage container, two storage units over here,” said Martin.
He said in the three years since, they’ve been able to donate more than $70,000.
“The community speaks for what this community is capable of,” said Martin.
Martin said they especially like to support groups that benefit kids, seniors, and those in need. The sheriff’s latest initiative is to help teens get driver’s education.
“That’ll pay for probably about half of their tuition, because tuition for driver’s ed could be anywhere from $500 to $700,” said Martin.
Just a peak on social media, you’ll find a ton of posts where the sheriff has donated to countless groups including veterans, the girl scouts, food pantries, and many more.
“The more that we do with the public, the more that we establish those relationships and the better relationship that we have with the community, the better that we’re going to do our job. Because usually the first contact with law enforcement is always a negative thing, a speeding ticket, a response for a complaint, a car crash,” said Martin.
Marlene Gaitan, Post Commander for AMVETS Post 1988 said Sheriff Martin is a great guy. Very down to earth and approachable. Gaitan said they were the very first group Martin donated to, to help them meet outside and stay connected when everyone was feeling so isolated during covid.
“He showed up with a check to assist us with our outside heating cost, as well as to help in other expenses,” said Gaitan.
Martin said he’s just doing his job.
“My job as a sheriff isn’t just law enforcement, isn’t public safety, but it is unity within the community. And that’s what I’m here to do,” said Martin.
For more information about the charities, please contact the Sheriff’s office at (231) 745-2711 or click here.