Deputy ready to inspire positive change

Staff Writer

COLUMBIA CITY — Despite returning to the comfort of home, one soldier still finds the motivation to have a positive adventure, with a positive effect.

“I was in the Army for six and a 1/2 years as a mortarman. Pretty much travelled everywhere for a little bit. So the structure that I get in the (Whitley County) Sherriff’s department is similar to that of the Army. That’s the lifestyle I enjoy.”

The homegrown son of Robert and Melinda Yagel has already worn many heroic hats, but Deputy Justin Yagel is still serving freedom but a little closer to home.

“Being able to get a detail and carry that out on your own,” Yagel said. “We’re able to accomplish tasks on your own. Even with the guys that you work with, obviously there is a large team factor that plays into most things. But being able to perform traffic stops. You have to be able to handle it when you have a plan already in your head but that could completely change depending on the situation. With any situation you go to you’ll have no idea how it can turn out. In order to accomplish a task you need the ability to think on a moments notice.”

This ability is particularly useful as a mortar man. Mortars generally move forward with the infantry but then set up a mortar position. Mortars are devices that launch projectile missiles through the air. This would require soldiers to scout the target, defend their position and be ready to move all at the same moment’s notice.

Today scouting the position is much easier given the terrain.

“It’s my hometown,” Yagel said. “A lot of the guys were able to take me underneath their wing from day one. It just got me hooked. Some of the older guys like (Deputy Sheriff) Tony Helfrich, (Sergeant) Todd Cook took me on ride-a-longs when I was still an intern in high school. I’d just ask them and they’d be like ‘Yeah come along. We start at two. You better be here.’”

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