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Couple surprised with award at AutumnFest

mni1011autumnfestrobertsDaleville police officer Chris King took to the microphone the evening of Oct. 11 during the town’s AutumnFest hoping to give back to a community.

He had spearheaded the start of the Daleville Police Department Community Service Award, which was being given out for the first time at the festival.

“I want to recognize these individuals or organizations for their contributions and say thank you to them because we as a people do not say it enough,” King said during his opening remarks.

Meanwhile, during the start of the speech, Daleville Clerk-treasurer Amy Roberts was breathing a sigh of relief next to her husband, town council President Tom Roberts. She had gotten all of the biographical information on Steve Selby, the person she was told would receive the award, to King that afternoon in a mad dash to make sure he’d have enough to say.

Selby was more than deserving of the award, Roberts told The Yorktown Press as the award ceremony was starting. It was going to be a surprise announcement, and Selby had no idea he would be honored with the award.

Little did she know, a family just as deserving would be surprised to take the award home.

King began to describe a family that took a tragedy and “turned it into something bigger than anyone could imagine.” The Roberts quickly realized as their daughter Jamie stood next to King that it was their family that was being recognized.

Words became hard for King as he began to choke up, reading a heartfelt speech to the Roberts family about the memorial scholarship that Tom and Amy Roberts started after the sudden death of their son, Jeff Roberts, in July 2011 when Jeff was an athlete heading into his senior year at Daleville Junior-Senior High School.

Since then, the annual Jog for Jeff event hosted by the Robertses every year has helped raise money for scholarships for college-bound Daleville students.

This year alone, four Daleville seniors had been recipients of $1,000 Jeff Roberts Memorial Scholarships.

The most emotional moment by far was when King included a letter that Jamie, the Robertses’ daughter, had sent him. She had meant for them to help guide King’s words, something he thought could be said best by note.

“My parents are so deserving of this award,” Jamie Roberts wrote. “They have truly strived to make a beautiful thing out of a time of utter chaos in our lives. I am so thankful to have them as my parents, and am blessed by their Godly example in my life.”

The sincerity of the speech from King and the words from their daughter brought Amy Roberts to tears. It was clearly a surprise she was not expecting during the festival.

“We were totally caught off guard by it,” Amy Roberts said.

The big secret of who won the award was kept by both King and Roberts children, who hid the announcement from their parents. This in itself was no small feat due to Amy usually being the information center for the town clerks office.

“Usually I’m the person that knows things so the fact they kept it hidden was a definite surprise,” Amy Roberts said in a phone interview later.

“Our family is not very good at receiving things, we always felt more comfortable on the giving side. It was a blessing to receive the award,” she added.

King said he felt it was time for them to be recognized for how they give back to the community.

“They are the type that loves to recognize others, but never themselves,” King said after the speech. “Amy and Tom would feel that there are other people that would be more deserving of this award, and that in itself makes them more than deserving with their humbleness.”

Special Thanks to The Star Press!

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The Town of Daleville is located in Delaware County where I-69, Ind. 67 and Ind. 32 converge.

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Daleville, Indiana