Korn continuing his life of service

08.14.2014 Dean Rhodes People, Public safety

Ryan Korn, 32, born and raised in the northern Willamette Valley, has been serving his communities, including the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, from his teens through all his adult life.

Today, he is following two uncles into the Marion County Sheriff's Office, training as a deputy. His first assignment will be in the Jail Division.

Korn is entering a department that has as its first priority and major success, "a strong connection, a trusting relationship, a bond with the community," said Kevin Schultz, Korn's uncle, who retires this year as Division Commander.

The program also provides inmates with opportunities to give back to the community. Last year, inmates produced 18,000 pounds of vegetables in the jail garden that were donated to the local food bank.

"From an early age, I knew I wanted to be in the military or law enforcement," Korn says, adding that he wanted "a career in public service.

"I wanted to do something that not everyone can do. I've always had the idea that there are many who came before me, and made it possible for me to have the things I have. Now, it's my turn.

"Maybe there's something out there that I can do to help, maybe diffuse a potentially explosive situation, maybe prevent something (terrible) that otherwise would have happened."

Actually, Korn has been making it possible for the rest of us to have the things we have for quite a while.

From 2001-05, he trained as an armored reconnaissance specialist, a cavalry scout, at Fort Knox in Kentucky. He deployed to Iraq out of Fort Lewis in Washington, and for a year he served in Iraq as a specialist in charge of the enemy prisoner-of-war team on the ground. He served there during the country's first election after the U.S. invasion and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

Among his missions, he manned a newly designed Stryker vehicle and engaged in a three-day firefight to protect a polling station in Tal Afar. He says he was impressed at how many Iraqis lined up to vote, taking their lives in their hands to do it.

He provided security defending a convoy of 114 vehicles stretching out several miles. The convoy of mechanics, cooks, medics -- all support staff that were not used to fighting -- traveled under this protection.

The convoy faced sandstorms. The protective unit dealt with communication issues, retrieved vehicles separated from the group, and defended against mortars, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank mines.

Other missions provided protection for high-value targets and detainees. "You name it, we did it," Korn says. "There are a thousand stories for everyone out there."

When he returned, he was promoted to sergeant.

At the Tribe, Korn has been a member of the Veterans Special Event Board and volunteered at the Grand Ronde Food Bank. He worked in Human Resources at Spirit Mountain Casino and later was a training officer for Security at the casino.

He also worked for the former Evergreen International Airlines in McMinnville, ending as a scheduling supervisor.

He earned a degree in criminal justice at Western Oregon University in Monmouth.

For the last two years, he served as a corrections officer at the federal correctional institution in Sheridan.

Now, as a deputy since his swearing in on July 22, he trains at the Marion County jail.

"His training work is the same as that of all corrections deputies," says Sgt. Chris Baldridge, Public Information Officer for the department. While the work is the same, Korn is accompanied in his work by a teacher/trainer from the department.

As he starts this latest stage in his career, his uncle, Kevin Schultz, says he is pleased to see Korn joining the department as he retires. Schultz has 27 years of service with the department.

"I'm thankful," Schultz says, "that I got to spend my last few months here to see him sworn in. It's pretty special."

Korn says his uncle has been "a pretty strong influence in supporting me in my goal. He gave me advice all along the way."

Another uncle, Melvin Schultz, served as a sergeant at the Sheriff's Office and now is retired.

Korn's mother, Julie Brown, Exhibit Supervisor in the Exhibits & Archive Program of the Land & Culture Department at the Tribe, said, "Ryan was certainly influenced by his uncles to pursue a career in law enforcement, especially my brother, Mel, who is more like a father to him than an uncle.

"It was evident that, even at a young age, 15, he would follow in his uncles' footsteps, beginning with his position as a junior cadet with the Philomath Police Department. He has always been of admirable character, and we are all very proud of Ryan. Marion County is very lucky to have him."

"I'm really doing this for my grandmother and my uncles," Korn says. "They've always been very proud of me, and I know that seeing an article in the paper would mean a lot to them. For my grandmother, this is really a big deal."

"I'm proud of all the men in my family, my sons and my grandsons," says grandmother and Tribal Elder Annabelle (Peachie) Hamm. "Ryan didn't always ask for my advice, but I gave it anyway.  They come from 'good stock,' don't you know-the Petite line!"

"This is a special moment," says Kevin. "Ryan's a great young man, a bright person and I think he's committed. He has a great future. I'm proud to have him as a member of our Sheriff's Office family. They become your second family. I couldn't be prouder."

When Korn was sworn in to the department, his uncle, Kevin, did the honors. Korn now is in training - with written and physical tests along with a background check.

He is now engaged with corrections training at the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training, also known as the state's police academy. In all, the process lasts anywhere from six months to a year.