At Christmastime, Deputy Robert Mount and his family went out of town to do their holiday shopping.
If they didn’t, Mount would be swarmed with kids who wanted to stop and talk to “Deputy Bob.”
He would greet every child with a “Hey, friend.” Even if he couldn’t pinpoint their name, he knew them and where they went to school.
Mount was one of the founding members of the D.A.R.E. program in Clark County. He passed away Saturday at the age of 65.
His wife, Elizabeth Mount, couldn’t help but choke up when she recalled the passion her husband had for the kids of this community.
“When he went to school, his whole focus was on making sure, throughout the day, that every single thing he said and did had an impact on the kids,” she said. “He was high energy all day long.”
Sergeant Ralph Underwood of the sheriff’s office was among the founding officers of D.A.R.E., along with former deputy Debbie Catanzaro and Mount. D.A.R.E. is a drug and violence prevention program that reaches 15 elementary schools and seven high schools in the county.
Underwood and Catanzaro remembered him as the voice of the department’s robot, “Deputy Do Right.”
“Bob would put on a headset and microphone and hide behind a curtain and do the voice,” Underwood said.
Underwood not only worked with Mount for years, but they also grew up in the same neighborhood. Underwood spent Tuesday polishing awards for Mount to wear on his uniform for the last time.
“Bob always spent a lot of time on his uniform,” he said.
Underwood said he told the two current D.A.R.E. officers that Mount’s passion for the program has to live on.
“His legacy has to continue,” he said. “We have to keep the prevention program going at all costs.”
Catanzaro also became very emotional when recalling memories of Mount.
She worked with Mount for about 12 years before retiring from the sheriff’s office in 2002. She said Mount would always look out for children in any of his D.A.R.E. classes who might be dealing with abuse or problems at home.
“Many times he would go above and beyond the D.A.R.E. curriculum,” she said. “He put his heart and soul into the program.”
Elizabeth Mount said her husband’s work inspired many children in his classes to follow in his footsteps.
“There are many (kids) who became a cop because of my husband, and they told him that ‘you are my inspiration,’” she said.
Outside of his work in law enforcement, Mount loved cars, especially his 1946 Ford. He was in a car club called, ‘The Elder Rodders.”
His wife said that about two years ago her husband started to become very sick, and was in and out of the hospital.
In 2016, Mount had a valve replacement. Even the nurse who took care of him in the critical care unit remembered “Deputy Bob.”
Last Thursday, he was feeling sick again, but this time he didn’t want to make another trip to the hospital. His family had a conference and decided to concede to Mount’s wishes, and he died peacefully in his home on Saturday.
“I want people to remember him as someone who cares so much about everybody,” Elizabeth Mount said through tears. “He had a huge, huge caring heart.”
At Mount’s funeral, guests will drive by two new D.A.R.E. vehicles parked in front of Littleton and Rue Funeral Home.
“It’s sort of like you’re coming into Bob’s place,” Underwood said. “He would be there for me. I’m going to be there for him. Bob’s my guy.”
Visitation for Mount will be at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Littleton and Rue Funeral Home in Springfield. A celebration of life will be at 1 p.m. on Thursday at the same location.
The family is expecting a big turnout to say one last goodbye to “Deputy Bob.”
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