The Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office named Bryon Rushing as Deputy of the Year and Tracey Hazelwood as Jailer of the Year during the Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office Christmas Banquet.
Chief Deputy Keith Hayes assisted Sheriff Chris Brown in making the presentation of a plaque, a canvas picture and a Christmas wreath made and donated by Dawn Teer, Editor, of The Sun Times. Hazelwood was working, so after the banquet, Sheriff Brown and jail administrator Angelo Aldrighetti went to the jail to make the presentation. The awards were voted on by the Sheriff’s office deputies, jail employees and members of the Sheriff’s staff.

Entertainment was provided by Neil Neuworth, Randy Platto and Steve “Flip” Phillippo, part of the band RetroActive.

Guest speaker was Randy Higgs, who is a recovered addict and had once spent time in the Cleburne County Jail. While in jail Higgs met members of the jail ministry and at one point was saved in jail. When he was released he ended up falling back in with his same crowd, determined to stay off drugs but ended up getting back on them.

“The company that you keep will influence you,” said Higgs.

He wound up having an automobile accident and ended up back in jail and committed himself to staying clean and off drugs. He has been successful and met his wife, Sarah, while attending church at Cleburne County Baptist Church.

“I really appreciate you deputies who treated me like a human being when you were taking me to jail.” said Higgs.

He met with his pastor, Brother Tim Crumpton during the second incarceration and he heard about a place in Oklahoma called Calvary Baptist Ministries which helped people like Higgs. When he went to court he changed his plea to guilty and was sent to Calvary Baptist Ministries for nine months.

“God worked a miracle letting me be sentenced there,” Higgs said. “God changed my life. I am thankful for the jail ministry.”

About 100 deputies, jail employees and staff and their families attended the event.

A surprise visit by Santa Claus completed the night. Santa said there was one person there on his naughty list, Sheriff Chris Brown. Santa said his punishment was a box of reindeer poop which he presented to Brown amongst a lot of laughter.