VANDALIA — When Donnie Evers graduated from Wayne High School in 1977 and took a job with the Vandalia Service Department, little did he know that it would begin a lifetime of service to the community he calls home.
On Friday, Evers retired from the Vandalia Division of Police after a 34 year career as a police officer and 38 years overall to the City of Vandalia.
“I was fortunate in that I found a home in Vandalia,” said Evers, who moved to Vandalia shortly after graduating from Wayne. “I live here, I work here, and it’s home. I think over the years I’ve done my part to make our community a little better for everyone.”
Police Chief Douglas Knight presented Evers with a gold retirement badge during remarks at a gathering on Friday.
“One of the things that sets Donnie apart is his passion for the job,” said Knight. “He always tries to do his best, and he’s very concerned about doing the right things for the right reasons. He was a fine reserve officer and carried that forward 30-plus years.”
Evers joined the police department as a reserve officer when he turned 21 years old. He served in that capacity for nearly three years while continuing to work full-time in the Service Department. In December, 1983, Evers was brought on full-time as a police officer.
During his career, he served in various assignments including patrol officer, reserve officer, detective, Neighborhood Officer, and had a long tenure of managing the department’s fleet of vehicles.
Evers said that the officers he served with will always be family.
“In this line of work the officers you work with have your life in their hands and you have their life in yours,” said Evers. “When you are out on the street doing the job, you look out for each other, it’s like a brotherhood. There is a trust that they have your back and you have theirs, and that bond is true even with other agencies when we assist them or they help us.”
Evers won’t be far from that family for long, however, as he will be assuming a part-time position as a bailiff in the Vandalia Municipal Court.
“I’ve been a police officer for so long, I hope that can help ease my transition from police officer to civilian life,” he said. “This has been home for me, a family, so this will let me stay in contact with everyone.”
Knight concluded with a tribute to Evers’ career and work.
“Donnie Evers has had a fine career, and has been salt of the earth in all he does, and he does them for the right reasons,” said Knight.