Milford’s Sames, 86, still on patrol

MILFORD — Richard Sames, 86, spent Thursday morning making sure no cars parked illegally in front of Wal-Mart.

With the backing of the Milford Police Department, he didn’t need to say much.

“If anyone doesn’t want to follow along, I’ll make a call and officers will be there quickly,” he said.

Richard Sames, 86, stands next to a Milford Police Department volunteer patrol car. (Delaware State News/Craig Anderson)

Richard Sames, 86, stands next to a Milford Police Department volunteer patrol car. (Delaware State News/Craig Anderson)

As a nearly 10-year member of the agency’s Volunteer Patrol program, Mr. Sames continues to contribute weekly to his community’s well being.

On four-hour shifts with 70-something-year-old partner Jim Baker, the spry senior citizen delivers Milford PD paperwork to the Attorney General’s Office in Georgetown and Dover; other rides are spent checking unoccupied homes due to residents on vacation.

If there’s a special event in Milford — like a festival, perhaps — Mr. Sames will likely be there directing traffic.

“I’m a certified flagger,” he said with a chuckle “There’s actually a four-hour class you take to qualify for being one.”

Last week, Milford PD publicly recognized Mr. Sames for his wide-ranging efforts, which also include a board membership with the Milford Senior Center, singing in his church choir, and contributing to operations at the Masonic Lodge.

Earlier this month, proudly wearing his Boy Scout uniform while still serving on the Del-Mar-Va-Council, Mr. Sames received the WMDT/Mountaire Farms Better Delmarva award for June. An Eagle Scout and 74-year member, Mr. Sames is currently Delaware’s second-oldest Boy Scout.

“The award celebrates persons, companies or institutions on Delmarva doing the right things where we live, work, play and pray,” Mountaire Farms Director of Community Relations Roger Marino said.

Police appreciate work

The recognition was well deserved, said Milford PD Sgt. Robert Masten.

“We are proud to know Mr. Sames and appreciate all of his hard work in making Milford a better place ..,” he said.

Sgt. Masten noted Mr. Sames’ routine volunteerism with the Community Policing Unit, and participation in the annual DEA’s Drug Take Back event at Milford PD.

Richard Sames has volunteered with the Milford Police Department since 2007. (Delaware State News/Craig Anderson)

Richard Sames has volunteered with the Milford Police Department since 2007. (Delaware State News/Craig Anderson)

“Mr. Sames has been an asset to the police department and to the city of Milford,” Sgt. Masten said. “We are thankful Mr. Sames has chosen our organization for some of his volunteer work.”

In his time volunteering with Milford PD since 2007, Mr. Sames has learned just how busy law enforcement is.

“They are truly involved in all that is going on here,” he said. “All you have to do is sit in the dispatch room, hear the calls and find out just how busy they are.”

With patrol officers stretched thin, Mr. Sames sees his volunteerism as a community service. The volunteer patrol has six active members now, and he said 12 would be ideal.

“There’s great camaraderie in being involved with the police department,” he said. “You find out a lot more than you ever imagined is going on in the city.”

Four bouts of pneumonia since the fall, including one in May, have slowed Mr. Sames’ swimming schedule, which he is slowly rebuilding. He works two out of every three weeks with the Milford PD, taking a daily shift.

Mr. Sames believes the most recent pneumonia might have been triggered by a week of three straight days of swimming and attending the out-of-state college graduation of one grandson and wedding of another with his wife Carolyn, a registered nurse.

“I think I probably did too much that week,” he said.

Helping however possible

So he’s doing what he can for the Milford PD, and remains involved to his limits.

Richard Sames, left, was presented the WMDT/Mountaire Farms Better Delmarva award for June by Roger Marino, director of Community Relations of Mountaire Farms. (Submitted photo/Milford Police Department)

Richard Sames, left, was presented the WMDT/Mountaire Farms Better Delmarva award for June by Roger Marino, director of Community Relations of Mountaire Farms. (Submitted photo/Milford Police Department)

“Four hours a week is what I’m able to do right now,” said the Korean War Army veteran who worked 38 years for the DuPont Co. and owned an H&R Block franchise in Milford for 20 years after that before selling.

When it comes to swimming, Mr. Sames tries to go Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He was going five times a week until last September, covering a half-mile each time in the water.

“That’s the goal, you have to have a goal and plan all the time,” according to the Bethlehem, Pa., native who graduated with a business degree from Muhlenberg College after realizing that becoming a Lutheran minister wasn’t his calling.

“I’m still building up my stamina.”

There’s no end in sight to the police work.

“When I drop dead, I’ll quit,” he said. “Whether I’m 86 or 87 or 90 it doesn’t matter. If I’m not able to do it, I’ll quit.”

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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