Founder of sheriff’s Ramona Mounted Patrol Unit retires

By Marta Zarrella

Members of the Ramona Sheriff’s Mounted Patrol unit gathered recently to honor John Degenfelder, who is retiring after 14 years of service as a mounted patrol volunteer.

With John Degenfelder are other founding members of the mounted patrol unit: Hal Brewer, left, Gordon Hersey and Degenfelder. Sentinel photo/Marta Zarrella

As anyone who has been in Ramona for any length of time knows, John and Arvie Degenfelder are active caretakers of the community. After serving as a senior patrol volunteer for the sheriff’s station in Ramona for a number of years, John was approached with the idea of starting a mounted unit.

“It happened after I had been at a county meeting with (sheriff’s) Lt. Karen Axle a very long time ago,” said Arvie.  “Karen said to me, wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a mounted unit wearing Stetsons out there in Ramona? So I came home and told John. You know how fast he takes good ideas and turns them into reality.”

Members of the mounted patrol undergo a multiple-step process to become certified members of the sheriff’s Ramona station.  They ride their own horses,  and the horses are required to pass skills and temperament tests, much like their human partner.

The mounted unit patrols on behalf of the sheriff monitor the trails, creek beds, parks and open spaces on a regular basis. They are in constant contact with uniformed officers via two-way sheriff’s  department radios.

John Degenfelder, founder of the sheriff’s Ramona Mounted Patrol Unit, is treated to a retirement cake — complete with a mounted policeman on horseback — a certificate, and his name tag and badge in a frame at his retirement party. Sentinel photo/Marta Zarrella

The unit  represents the sheriff in local parades and  special events such as the Ramona Rodeo.

On May 6 of this year, three members of the Ramon Mounted Unit participated in the  San Diego Regional Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony on the lawn of the County Administration Center on Harbor Drive in downtown San Diego. The ceremony was the unveiling of a special memorial built to honor the men and women of law enforcement who have died in the line of duty.

The memorial includes the name of every fallen police officer, sheriff’s deputy, and state and federal law enforcement officer in the San Diego region.

The mounted unit is highly regarded by Sheriff Bill Gore and his staff and is included in many events outside of Ramona, such as this dedication.

John and Arvie Degenfelder have decided to retire from all of the community activities in which they are involved. Besides bringing the Sheriff’s Mounted Patrol to life, their legacy includes strong ties to the county supervisor’s office, calling Chairman Dianne Jacob a good friend.

The Degenfelders have  been tireless advocates for trails, parks, organizations and facilities to serve and service the people of Ramona. John founded the Ramona Trails Association and the Ramona Community Foundation as well as the mounted patrol. The Welcome to Ramona monument was his idea.

Sheriff’s Ramona Mounted Patrol Unit honors John Degenfelder at a retirement party on May 10. Top from left are: Tifany Markee, Trisha Thomas, Scott Milner (assistant administrator) and Ed Spaeth; center: Marcy Millar, Nancy Ujazdowski, Kim Miller and Stacey Gill, and, front: Derik Millar, John Degenfelder, Arvie Degenfelder and DeAnne Erickson (administrator). Sentinel photos/Marta Zarrella

John and Arvie have lived a life of service and made their mark in Ramona.

When asked what’s next, they said, “We’ve found good homes for our horses, including the two fillies. Every one of our projects and committees has been handed over to someone who can keep them going forward. We are putting a few things in our mobile home, including Roscoe (their dog) with a few of his sticks, and will take a road trip soon to visit friends and family. We’ve talked about doing this for a long time and decided we better do it now while we still can.”

Related posts:

  1. Sheriff’s Mounted Patrol volunteers, part of Ramona’s safety net
  2. Letters to editor: Mounted patrol, equal greeting, more
  3. Ramona Community Foundation invites nonprofits to Grant Seeker Forum
  4. Sheriff’s homicide unit investigates death in Julian campground
  5. Degenfelders share enthusiasm for Arabian horses

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Posted by Staff on May 30 2014. Filed under Featured Story, News, Ramona, Seniors. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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