First Responder of the Week: Michael Willford

Wide-ranging accolades and certifications from over 3 decades in law enforcement
Published: Nov. 10, 2020 at 5:43 PM EST
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PERRYSBURG, Ohio (WTVG) - Michael Willford is a criminal justice instructor at Penta Career Center and a man of many hats, with over 30 years of experience in law enforcement. He is also 13abc’s First Responder of the Week.

“I started my career as a dispatcher at the Henry County Sheriff’s Office in Napoleon, and worked there for 23-and-a-half years," Willford recalls. He reached the highest rank of detective sergeant there, though leaped at the chance to teach at Penta Career Center when the position opened up 8 years ago.

He loves bringing up the next generation of officers, but it’s not all classwork for him: “I love my profession, and I still work part-time as an officer at Lake Township Police Department. Being at it as long as I have, I’ve seen a lot of changes throughout the years, but the passion to help someone has never changed.”

Anne Wilford, Michael’s husband -- a cosmetology instructor who works just down the hall from him -- recalls a recent example of his selflessness while on-duty in Lake Township. “He was driving down the road and somebody waved him over," Anne says. "He was going to his mother’s funeral, and he needed his tie to be tied since he didn’t know how to do it himself. He’s a very selfless person who dedicates everything to the job, and just works harder than anybody I’ve ever known.”

If you ask Michael about it, he says unique moments like these are all part of the job. His accolades are wide-ranging -- from two lifesaving awards through the Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association to Deputy of the Year -- yet they’re always secondary to the task at hand.

“I didn’t get into this profession for the commendations," Michael says. "Even by just helping someone change a tire and getting a thank-you when you leave... that’s really all the reward you look for in this job.”

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