Two auxiliary officers retired from the Wapakoneta Police Department force Thursday — ending more than six decades of combined association with the local law enforcement agency.
John Nester, 67, retires after 14 years on the auxiliary and concluding nearly 42 years on the force. He worked more than 28 years as a full-time officer with the Wapakoneta Police Department before retiring in 1998.
“I have really enjoyed it,” Nester said
Thursday during a retirement party at the Wapakoneta City Administration Building, “but it is still hard to give it up.
“I will miss the guys and I really loved helping people,” he said.
The switch from full-time to auxiliary made retiring from the force easier, but he loved working as a regular officer. He was hired Feb. 1, 1970 by former Police Chief Bill Wolfe, as Wolfe’s first full-time officer hire.
During his years on the force, he recalled the worst part of the job.
“I have been to a lot of car accidents, seen some very bad accidents where the cars are on fire,” Nester said. “It is hard to see people in cars as they are on fire. I also have responded to scenes where people are handing you their kids to get them to safety.”
He also remembered his early days when an officer was more on his own when he responded to a call and seldom was there back-up so he was out on his own most of the time.
Nester gained the most satisfaction from trying to help people change their lives.
“My biggest thrill is when somebody would come up to me years later and say, ‘I remember the talk we had and that is the reason I am still out of the pen today or that talk changed my life and kept me out of trouble,’ ” Nester said.
Now, he will spend more time with his wife, Nancy. Their son, Jamie, who lives in Delaware and works in Columbus, may have more frequent visits from his parents.
“Despite all the trouble, I still loved doing it,” said Nester, who graduated from St. Joseph High School in Wapakoneta. “We have a good department with a really strong police force and a very active auxiliary. They should be fine.”
Roger Yoh, 60, worked the past 28 years in the auxiliary.
Yoh, who grew up in the small town of Scott on the Putnam-Van Wert County line, echoed Nester’s comment about the auxiliary.
“I will really miss the people,” Yoh said. “They are a swell bunch of guys.”
Yoh, who works at Tork Products in Lima, moved to Wapakoneta in 1986. He has since moved to Lima.
“I was a member of the Cridersville Police Department and when I got off of there I signed up for Wapak’s auxiliary,” Yoh said. “I still wanted to help and I loved the work.”
The most memorable moments for Yoh were the Tug-a-Trucks when they were out at the truck stop He said “those got pretty wild.”
Another memory for Yoh was President Ronald Reagan coming through Wapakoneta on the train.
Yoh also plans to spend more time with his wife, Judy. They have two grown kids, Kevin and Jennifer.