Harvey County Sheriff Arlis “A.J.” Wuthnow has been a friend of my family’s for 15 years. I have watched him capably and compassionately meet many challenges during that time. The accusations and innuendo swirling about him simply do not line up with his established character and integrity.

Although he is an experienced lawman, he is a political novice who is discovering the consequences of not bowing down to the will of others and now is mired in a pit of jealousy, anger and innuendo.

Those who would chip away at his character simply do not know the true integrity of the man behind the badge. It seems A.J.’s only mistake is being too trusting of the motives and activities of others. Yes, let’s scrutinize the activities of our public officials. But let’s not be so quick to falsely accuse and attempt to destroy the integrity of those who put their hearts into helping and serving others with a pure motive. Perhaps we should examine the true motives and behind-the-scenes activities of those who make such accusations.

Who is the “real” A.J. Wuthnow? A.J. is the man who stops at the side of the road to help pull your car out of a snowbank or drives you back to town to get some gasoline, then pays for it. A.J. is the man whose passion is protecting the public, helping children and others who may be vulnerable, and serving his Lord with all his heart, mind and soul. A.J. is the man who sees injustice and rights it. A.J. is the man who puts the needs of the public before his own.

A.J. is the man who repeatedly visits the bedside of a sick or dying friend, then brings the family groceries or takes them all out to eat. A.J. is the man who sees a need, takes care of it and asks nothing in return. A.J. is the man who uses his skills to build not destroy, to love not hate, to unify not divide, to help not harm. A.J. is the man who is courageous, not cowardly, and for that he sometimes pays a price.

We owe our Harvey County sheriff, A.J. Wuthnow, a debt of gratitude, not another kick in the face. He serves us honorably and consistently. We must raise our voices in support of the man we know and stop cowering behind our doors in fear of reprisal from those who seek to defame his character.

Thank you, A.J., for your many years of service with true integrity!

— Susan Almond, Newton