BY KAREN CAMPBELL
Weakley County Schools Communications Director
SHARON (March 9) – Sharon School students, staff and faculty pulled off a surprise reveal of Weakley County Neighbors Person of the Year last week. School Resource Officer Steve Fulcher earned 54 percent of the votes to claim his spot on the cover of the magazine, which sponsors the annual event.
Escorted by wife Christy Fulcher, the 20-year-veteran officer entered a gym filled with students, school staff, and fellow officers who cheered his accomplishment. Immediately, he was hugged by his parents Lowell and Adelle who were visiting with other family members, and the ceremony began.
Weakley County Neighbors Magazine publisher Larry Skarsten invited Christy Fulcher to help unwrap the enlarged magazine cover featuring the School Resource Officer covered in silly string.
Terry McDade read from the Weakley County Sheriff’s Department tribute included in the magazine, noting that Fulcher “found his calling” when he accepted the role at the school, “Steve is a true hero to the students. The staff at Sharon School sing the praises of Mr. Steve daily. The citizens of Weakley County should be proud to have such a man serving and protecting them every day,” he concluded.
Sharon School Principal Michelle Clements took the podium to recount moments from Fulcher’s four-year history at the school. She noted he was the “perfect mix of fun and law enforcement experience” for the school as he “calmed nerves of second graders, cracked jokes with middle schoolers, and played PE with elementary students.”
“There is no bigger fan at a Sharon basketball game than Officer Steve,” she said. “He even knows how to use the cheerleaders’ pompoms.”
From his known love of sloths to his customized secret handshakes, she underscored, “the kids love and trust him because he has taken the time to build relationships with each and every one of them.”
She added that “Officer Steve’s” work extends beyond the school to assisting the community during events like ice storms and the recent tornado.
The program included poetry written for Fulcher by three middle school poets and comments from students speaking before the packed gymnasium. As Clements walked along the queue of admirers that stretched across the gym floor, praise continued. In response to “why do you love Officer Steve?” the crowd heard, “Because he plays rock, paper, scissors with us at lunch;” “He makes us smile and brings us joy every day;” “He protects us;” “He is the best officer and the sweetest officer in the world;” “Because he tells corny jokes;” and “He is amazing, inspiring and when you are unhappy, he will make you happy.”
Noting “there is a lot of love in this room,” Skarsten concluded the formal program and called Clements back to explain the rules of the “after party” – a game of Poison Pin Dodgeball with third, fourth and fifth graders taking on “Officer Steve” and fellow SROs from neighboring schools, along with members of the Sheriff’s Department, Emergency Management, and the Sharon Police Department.
Clements began the game with a word of warning … to the students, “Hey, kids, ya’ll don’t hurt anybody.” After 15 minutes, a few falls and un-dodged balls, fans were left wondering if, even though the older team took the win, the youngsters might not be the ones feeling triumphant the next day.
The event concluded with photos and the Person of the Year beaming his well-known smile.
Contributors to the gift cooler filled with Fulcher’s favorite treats were Rural King, E.W. James, Vincent Outfitters, Wimpy’s, UT Martin – Vanguard Theater, Sharon Furniture, and Burkes Outlet.