Balancing Act: How an Independence Deputy Sheriff gives back to the community through sports

Sports

INDEPENDENCE, Kan. — A deputy sheriff, an assistant track coach and a basketball official. Will Tunstall serves in all of those roles on a daily basis. His passion for all of those jobs is fueled by his desire to give back to the community.

Tunstall starts his days here at the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in Independence, Kansas. He’s a full time deputy sheriff which can be a difficult but also rewarding line of work.

“Trying to catch somebody at a certain point to see if they can make a turn,” said Tunstall. “You know, try to help them because nobody’s perfect and something could happen. I could be on the other side so it’s really personal for some of us.”

“He’s a great role model and everybody here seems to get along with him real well,” said Montgomery County Sheriff Ron Wade. “Even the inmates as well. So, that’s a good deal. I wish we had more employees like Will.”

Once he’s done with his shift, he’s either off to officiate a basketball game o r heading to track practice at Field Kindley high school in Coffeyville where he serves as an assistant coach.

“Coach Will, he’s very respectful of the kids,” said Head Track Coach Jeremy Neuenschwander. “He has high expectations and he gets the kids to buy in and they’re very successful.”

Tunstall ran track back in high school and his love for the sport has stayed with him. It’s part of what got him into coaching. The other part is helping them stay on the right track in life.

“I get to try to help mold them into young adults, but also I try to show them like, ‘Hey, if you go this way then you will see me on this side and that’s not a good look where you will want to see me at’,” said Tunstall. “But I’ve always tried to give back.”

Adding coaching and officiating to the mix can make for a very busy schedule, but it also helps people see a different side of Tunstall which he finds helpful.

“We try to humanize ourselves. We don’t want to just be robots to people because they see us in the uniform,” Tunstall said. “We want to be approachable. So I think that helps and like I said, it’s also been a stress reliever for me.”

Tunstall’s commitment the community in which he serves hasn’t gone unnoticed. He was recently named as the 2020 National Federation of Officials Association State Basketball Official of the Year.

“You give as somebody gave to you and that’s what I try to do,” said Tunstall.

Whatever job he’s doing at the time, Tunstall always tries to set a good examples for others to follow.

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