THE FAMOUSLY KIND and good-hearted television host, Mister Rogers, often spoke about the importance of helping each other. For over 30 decades he came into our homes each day through his show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” and showed us all the ways we could be kind and help each other through life. One of his most famous quotes about helping came from something that his mother had instructed him to do through difficult times.
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.‘”
And he was right. If you look around you, you’ll find helpers. People just like Sewanee Police Captain Dylan McClure.
Through his work as a police officer, he is looking to change the way people see police officers and just how much of a help they can be.
Even as a young boy, McClure knew he was going to lead a life of service. He took those first steps into helping others, at the age of 16, when he joined the Sewanee Volunteer Fire Department.
“My uncle and cousin and another uncle were all members,” he said. “And so that kind of got my foot in the door, and I was like, this is great. The feeling of helping people was great.”
His time with the fire department further solidified his intentions in pursuing a career that served the community. He would then make the decision to become a police officer. McClure explains that his decision to take on such a position did not come at the best time.
“At the time that I got into policing, it was not necessarily the best time,” he said. “It was just a time where policing was really frowned upon, no matter what.
However, McClure said that even amongst the opposition he saw an opportunity to change the narrative about police officers, within his community.
“That’s kind of what inspired me more to want to get into it,” he explained. “Because I’ve always been a big people person. So I liked the fact that maybe if I started it, I could start a chain, especially in Sewanee. There are students up here from all over the county and the world for that matter. You have the opportunity to inspire so many different people. Maybe I could be a small light and make it to where it’s not as frowned upon. If you touch as many people as we do here, it just makes it seem better.”
So each day, that has been exactly what he has done. Now, as captain for the Sewanee Police Department, he said he feels like the community support is better than ever.
“I’m very thankful to work in the county I do, with working in Franklin County. Because you couldn’t ask for a better community when it comes to police and as far as first responders in general. They support us, and it makes all the difference when you have community support.”
He encourages others to consider a career in policing or being a first responder. McClure said there is no better feeling than being a helper in your own community.
“I would tell them there’s not a better feeling than to serve the community, especially the community that you live in,” he said. “It’s the most rewarding, every day. You see people at their worst times, and you see people at their best times. And especially when you see people that are at one of those worst points in their lives and they come back and they talk to you, and they say ‘thank you,’ that that is probably the most heartwarming thing that anybody could ever, ever feel. And that alone would be enough for me to go back and do this all over again.” GN