SIDNEY — Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart was the recipient of heartfelt thanks from three U.S. Army recruiters Wednesday morning.
In July when five recruiters were killed in Tennessee, Lenhart offered area recruiters the opportunity to receive a permit to carry concealed handguns.
“We are thankful for his support for the community; his support for the local area; and his support for us,” said Staff Sgt. David Altizer, of Piqua, who is a recruiter in Piqua.
Lenhart said when the shootings happened in July, the first thing he wondered was what he could do to help make the local recruiters feel safer when they were out with their families.
“No one could every decide how to protect the recruiters,” said Lenhart. “As the local sheriff, I can issue emergency CCW permits.”
Twelve licenses were issued to members of the military branches after Lenhart made his offer in July. Olivia Steinke, of Sidney, a hometown recruiter, applied for her CCW Wednesday morning. Steinke recently completed basic training and was home for an additional two weeks to be a hometown recruiter.
Lenhart said as sheriff he can issue CCW permits for contiguous counties around Shelby County.
“I can determine if it’s an emergency and then go without the waiting period for the license,” said Lenhart.
“This was pretty awesome and I greatly appreciate it,” said Tiffany Smith, of Troy, who is also a recruiter.
Altizer said the permit is for when he is with his family and friends, not when he is on duty. When he is off duty and out of uniform, with the CCW he can carry a concealed weapon.
“Our military is trained,” said Lenhart. “People get confused with what’s going on in the real world. I was able to do something that the state and federal government is still fighting about.”
Altizer said the sheriff’s support meant a lot to all the recruiters.
“You have a right to protect yourself,” Lenhart told Altizer. “It’s a cold day when civilians have to protect the military.”
“This means a lot to us,” said Altizer. “We were wondering what we were going to do.”
The recruiters presented Lenhart with a plaque, which will be displayed at the Sheriff’s Office, an Army coffee mug, towel and tote bag.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4822; follow her on Twitter @MelSpeicherSDN. Follow the SDN on Facebook, www.facebook.com/SidneyDailyNews.