Okeechobee County deputy honored for helping teen during a tough time

Pictured: Colonel Gary Bell, Deputy Quinton Speed, Deputy Michael Cauley, Deputy Kenneth Hernandez, Deputy Buck Jolly, Deputy Shane Bogner and Sgt. Matt Hurst (Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office)

An Okeechobee County deputy was recognized for going above and beyond the call of duty this week.

Deputy Kenneth Hernandez was dispatched for a welfare check on a teen girl, according to the Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office. He was told she was upset and "just wanted to go away and not talk to anyone ever again."

Hernandez went to the home and met with the teen, the sheriff's office said. After some discussion, she told him that she recently lost her mother. That day was also the teen's birthday and she was spending it alone.

Since it was the teen's birthday, Hernandez went to the store and bought a birthday card, according to the sheriff's office. He then reached out to his shift and all the deputies signed the card and delivered it to her.

"In looking at the event, your kind actions were clearly above what was expected," Col. Gary Bell said. "The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office is proud to have someone of your caliber working within the agency. Law enforcement has undergone some tough times, which has left a mark on the profession. These acts of kindness should reinforce that law enforcement does care, and we strive to do what is right, but not always perceived by the public as the right move.”

Hernandez was presented with the Chief Deputy Award.