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HONORING A FALLEN OFFICER

Fourth annual golf outing benefits the Koontz Memorial Scholarship Fund

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FLY HIGH — Diane Howard, Koontz's aunt and organizer of the event, and Cpl. Michael Hamilton, a co-worker of Koontz, proudly pose for a photo commemorating the ultimate sacrifice the deputy made for Howard County.

The 2019 Annual Deputy Carl Koontz Golf Outing teed of its fourth year at the Wildcat Creek Golf Course last Friday.

The outing was held in memory of Deputy Carl Koontz, who was killed in the line of duty on March 20, 2016. The proceeds from the event benefitted the Koontz Memorial Scholarship Fund.

“It was originally designed to give back to the community for the support they’d shown the sheriff’s department and for Carl’s wife and all the support that they had given her,” said Diane Howard, Koontz’s aunt and organizer of the event. “I felt like it would be good for the deputies because they grieve so much, and they still grieve so much to this day. And I thought maybe this (the scholarship) would help them cope, by helping somebody else, so that’s pretty much why we started it.”

The fund donates $1,000 to each area high school in Howard County to be awarded to one of their students. The scholarship application is open to any high school student who wishes to apply.

“Carl was one of those that was going to make a difference,” Howard said. “He saw that difference. He wasn’t just there to turn his lights on and give you a ticket; he was there to help you. If you needed help, he was going to help you. That’s how these guys are. That’s kind of what we want to do. We just want to be able to reach out and give back and help the kids.”

Howard hoped to change the common misconception of police officers as being the “bad guys” by getting the members of the sheriff’s department involved in the community and reaching out to the kids in public school systems, encouraging them to strive for meaningful lives.

In the years the event has been held, there have been about 36 teams, or 144 golfers. This year, there were about 30 teams with about 124 golfers. Typically, most of the Howard County Sheriff’s Office deputies are in attendance, as well as several family members and friends.

“I truly appreciate everybody that does reach out and support,” Howard said. “We are a small community, and it seems like when the time needs to be, everybody comes together. And I just want that for the sheriff’s department. It’s about helping anybody that needs help because initially. That’s what a deputy does.”

The Howard County Sheriff’s Office and the family of Koontz thanked the sponsors for supporting the outing and Low Bob’s Discount Tobacco store for donating grape-flavored cigars for each of the participants, that Koontz, in his life, enjoyed smoking.

To donate to the Koontz Memorial Fund, contact Diane Howard at dhoward3476@gmail.com or 765-434-8136, or send a gift to 1800 W. Markland Ave.