REALITY CHECK: Volunteers help the Buncombe County Sheriff's Office

Volunteers with the Buncombe County Sheriff's Office SERV program save the department money. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

The Buncombe County Sheriff's Office has a way for you to give back and save fellow taxpayers money. A coalition called Independent Sector calculates one volunteer hour in North Carolina is worth $22. Buncombe County Sheriff's Office volunteers said they've already donated enough time this year to save the county almost $13,000.

Kark Katterjohn brought the volunteer idea to Buncombe County Sheriff Van Duncan several years ago. The retiree doesn't like to sit still. He's a veteran, a former professor, physician's assistant and has worked in a number of other fields.

These days, Katterjohn can be found volunteering for the BCSO. Some days, he drives around the county, boosting the department's presence. On other days, he helps save money by performing such tasks as serving as a funeral escort.

"When you take a regular deputy to do a funeral escort, we don't have extra deputies around, so you're taking the deputy off of their regular job to go and do a funeral escort," Katterjohn said.

The Buncombe County Sheriff's Office began the SERV program in 2013. SERV stands for Sheriff's Executive Resource Volunteers. Right now, the office has eight volunteers and is looking for more.

"They bring a lot to the table, and we just take what they give us and try to use that," BCSO Capt. Randy Sorrels said.

Most of the volunteers are retirees.

"It really is giving back to the community. I know that sounds trite, but when you're retired, if you don't stay active, your retirement is going to not be a very pleasant thing," Katterjohn said.

Katterjohn got the idea from Henderson County, which has had a volunteer program since 1995. Haywood County has a volunteer program, as well.

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