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Douglas County Sheriff’s Office honors trainer with Citizen of the Year award

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HIGHLANDS RANCH – Each year, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office honors citizens who go above and beyond to make the community a better place. This year, they selected Steve Hess to receive the award.

The Douglas County SWAT team swarmed the Panorama Orthopedics and Spine Center in Highlands Ranch to present Hess with the award.

Hess has spent the past year working with Douglas County Deputy Jeff Pelle. He took him under his wing, showed him what to eat and how to work out. And he did it free of charge. Pelle said, “I tried to pay him, he won’t accept any money.”

Deputy Pelle was shot in the New Year’s Eve ambush in 2017. A bullet punctured his lung, shattered a rib and barely missed his heart. Deputy Pelle said, “Originally the doctor said I wouldn’t be back to work for over a year. Steve got me back in 8 months full duty.”

Undersheriff Holly Kluth said, “We couldn’t do it without citizens like you who really embrace the sheriffs office.”

Hess is known for his two decades training the Denver Nuggets, and is now Chief Performance Officer for Panorama, where he met Deputy Pelle three months after he was shot. Hess said, “He told me he saw the light, he bled out and it was close.” Deputy Pelle said, “He knew my story but didn’t feel sorry for me. He said let’s go let’s get after it get you back to be you. I almost needed someone to pull back the reigns a little bit, but then when I started working out he told me a couple times do not throw up on my floor!”

Deputy Pelle said Hess motivate him, but Hess said it’s the other way around. Hess said, “The amount I get out of it someone like that so locked into it, so outweighs anything you could ever get not even close.”

Hess continues to give back, now working with other members of the Douglas County SWAT team. He said, “I am just blessed to be able to serve and help in any way we can for those who put their lives on the line.”

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