Myron Roberts walks with a slow shuffle and the use of a cane.
Ran over an anti-tank mine during the Korean War.
That hasn’t stopped the O.C. native from serving, for years, the city he dearly loves and where he has lived for 62 years.
Roberts, 83, is an RSVP for the Fullerton PD.
That stands for Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol.
For 17 years and 1 month, Roberts has donated thousands of hours to the Fullerton PD — 9,128.5 hours, to be exact (No. 2 is Eleanor Grainger, with 5,583.6)— helping out with duties for the agency’s Investigations, Traffic, Records and Community Services divisions.
That hours total puts Roberts at the top of the list of 30 seniors who are active members of RSVP.
He is fourth on the list in terms of years served, behind 20-year veterans Grainger, Betty Ziegler and Kathy Katz.
The volunteers in the RSVP program aren’t in some kind of competition with each other.
They volunteer because they love to serve.
“It also gives me something to do,” said Roberts, who recently lost his wife of 62 years, Connie.
“I would have been putting in more hours recently,” Roberts said, “but losing her took some time (to get back into the RSVP routine).”
At the Fullerton City Council meeting last week, Chief Dan Hughes publicly acknowledged the service of Roberts and the 29 other active members of RSVP.
The 20 or so RSVPs in attendance at the City Council meeting Nov. 17 took turns walking up to the front of the chambers to shake the hand of Hughes and Mayor Greg Sebourn and to receive a certificate of commendation.
“They are simply some of the most remarkable community members I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting,” Hughes said. “They volunteer their time at the police department to make our community safer and a better place to live, simply because they are invested in, and love, this community.”
Just short of 6 feet 6 inches, Roberts wears badge No. R-30. With a moustache that is nearly a handlebar, he’s an unmistakable presence at the FPD in his blue long-sleeve shirt, black necktie and dark slacks and shoes.
He currently volunteers 10 hours a week at the FPD.
A commander in the local post of the American Legion, a former police officer, told Roberts about the RSVP program.
He became active in RSVP on Oct. 1, 1998 and hasn’t looked back since.
“If you’ve gotten a traffic ticket in Fullerton,” Roberts says with a twinkle in his eye, “I’ve known about it.”
RSVPs, who go through a 10-week Citizen’s Police Academy and receive additional training, do such things as check in on, and help, long-term medical patients at St. Jude Medical Center as part of the hospital’s wellness program.
They sign up individuals on the Return Home Registry, which includes information about Fullerton residents diagnosed with dementia, autism or another often debilitating condition to help cops find them should they go missing.
RSVPs patrol in areas where there’s a spike in crime to give the PD increased visibility.
They check on homes of residents who tell the PD they are going on vacation.
They help people at the FPD front desk and at virtually all community events.
They direct traffic to free up cops to do other work.
And, in an effort that may be unique to the Fullerton PD, RSVPs also call back more than 4,100 victims of crimes whose cases are inactive to see if they have any more information to help officers dig up leads.
This year alone, Fullerton RSVPs have donated more than 5,000 hours of combined service. Since the program started, the donated hours add up to 240 years of volunteer time.
The other 26 currently active RSVPs are Bernard Kotkin, David Everitt, Frances Mueller, Robert Bernstein, Aki Tanaka, Stephen Zerga, Lorraine Turissini, Eugene Figoni, Frank Loiacano, LaRee Miner, Faye Phillips, John Kunselman, Barbara Giasone, Maxine Broderick, Richard Cameron, Robert Kanter, Joan Mears, Thomas Negron, Gary Poggensee, Evelyn Rybicki, Fernando Torrez, Dale Flournoy, Charles Pierecy, Robert Drissen, Herald Soares and Jody McFarland.
“The RSVPs are a valued members of our police family,” Hughes said, “and I’m extremely proud of them and grateful for them and for their service to our community and our police department.”
Hughes also singled out at the City Council meeting Community Service Officer Juanita Juarez and Sgt. Kathryn Hamel for their leadership in running RSVP.
Roberts has two daughters — one who lives in Irvine, the other in Paris.
There’s a chance his Irvine-based daughter may relocate out of state. If so, he will follow her.
For now, you can find him in and around the Fullerton PD.
Says Roberts: “I will probably remain a volunteer unless I move away or go away with my wife.”