Good deed done by Pratt County Sheriff's deputy
It was a cold, dark and windy night on the Kansas prairie when New Mexico travelers ran out of gas six miles west of Pratt on U.S. Highway 54/400. Lucky for them, an experienced and courteous Pratt County Sheriff's deputy came to their rescue.
"It was the Friday before Christmas and we were just driving along, on our way to visit our son in Wichita," said Tony Martinez. "We've made the trip coming from Tucumcari many times and we usually stop in Liberal to get gas, but for some reason we got to talking and just forgot to stop. It wasn't until we coasted to a stop that we realized we were in trouble."
Martinez, 79, said that he and his wife, Sheri, thought they could call their insurance company to get someone to come out and help them, but they were not able to make that contact. Their son advised them to try the state police, but that didn't work either. They finally called 911 and were connected with the Pratt County Sheriff's Department.
"A Deputy Buford showed up, and took care of us," Martinez said. "He went over and beyond the call of duty and we were just so thankful. Not only did he take us both into town to get a gas can (it was his suggestion because we didn't want to leave Sheri alone waiting out on the highway) and bring it back to get our car going, but he also followed us back into town to make sure our car made it okay. When the first gas station pumps we stopped at didn't work, he took us to the Dillons pumps, used his own fuel points to get us money off on our gas, and then wouldn't take payment at all from me."
Martinez said he was so thankful for the kindness of the Pratt County Sheriff's deputy that he wanted to make sure others heard about the good deed he did for them back on December 18.
According to Pratt County Sheriff Jimmy White, Deputy Buford Johnson was only doing what all Pratt County Sheriff's deputies are trained to do.
"We believe in the golden rule here," White said. "I tell all my deputies to treat people how they would like to be treated, how they would like their family members to be treated. If someone is stranded and needs help, we go the extra mile to make sure they are taken care of. It's the right thing to do. This is how we operated in Pratt County. It's just normal deputy behavior."
White said Johnson has more than 30+ years of service with the Pratt County Sheriff's Department and has had the opportunity to help many travelers through this part of the state.
For Tony and Sheri Martinez, the act of kindness they experienced in Pratt County was one they will never forget.
"We just hope that if people hear about Deputy Buford (Johnson) they might buy him a meal or shake his hand," Martinez said. "He is a good man, a good man."
The Pratt community is inivted to honor all Pratt law enforcement officers at 10 a.m. on January 9 during a special appreciation event in front of the Pratt LEO center. Organizer Noelle Holmes invites participants to bring by cards, notes of thanks and encouragement, colored pictures and other items of appreciation for police and sheriff department personnel. She may be reached at email@example.com for more information about the event.