By NATALIE MILLER
Every day, men and women who wear police officer uniforms willingly face life-threatening situations to protect others. Sometimes even less acknowledged are the individuals who do the work of an officer, but for no pay.
After serving a total of 25 years as an auxiliary volunteer police officer with both the Hanover County Sherriff’s Office and the Ashland Police Department, Sam Hollins hung up his badge.
“It’s been a great ride and I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Hollins said after his retirement.
Hollins is a life-long Hanover resident, and spent five years with HCSO before becoming a volunteer auxiliary police officer with APD.
Hollins started volunteering within the county as a Virginia Commonwealth University student, when he volunteered with the Western Hanover Rescue Squad.
“I’ve always had a protective nature,” Hollins said. “I’ve always had that desire to be a public servant.”
For the majority of his time volunteering with APD, Hollins worked at a mining company in Hanover.
“I realized it was the best way to do that and still keep my job,” Hollins said.
Hollins was not inspired to serve because of any family ties to law enforcement, but he said he may have been more inclined to do so because he served in the military as a young man.
He patrolled the streets, and served as a police presence during local events like the Ashland Strawberry Faire.
“The neat thing about it, when I was on duty I was the same as a full-time officer,” Hollins said.
Hollins also responded to more dangerous situations during his time with the police department. In 2002 when the infamous DC snipers came through Ashland, Hollins was stationed at the I-95 exit.
“It was pretty crazy,” Hollins said of being on duty during the high-profile incident.
APD Chief Doug Goodman met Hollins when they both started working for HCSO over 20 years ago. Both Goodman and Hollins joined APD within a few years of each other.
“Whenever I saw Sam my day instantly got better,” Goodman said. “He is just the quintessential gentleman.”
The Ashland Town Council approved a resolution for Hollins’ 20 years of auxiliary service with APD at their June 6 meeting. After recognizing his years of work, the Town and APD followed retirement tradition and officially purchased the weapon Hollins used during his time as an auxiliary officer to be given to him as a gift.
Hollins said he will most miss the camaraderie of working alongside fellow officers, and Chief Goodman.
“He’s an exemplary leader,” Hollins said of Goodman.
In his newfound free time, Hollins will be playing tennis and golf, he said. Hollins will also have more time to spend with his family, including his 11-month-old granddaughter, who live in the Hanover area.
“We’re going to miss seeing him around once or twice a week,” Goodman said. “We’re a little sad, but I’m happy for him.”