Sheriff’s Deputy Officer Ronnie Segree has set an example for honesty we can all be proud to copy.
On Friday, things were a little slow at the courthouse when he decided to reduce the clutter in his station at the security entrance. Segree obtained permission from Clerk of Courts Marcia Johnson to open a sealed envelope labeled “Shot Records” that was enclosed in a plastic bag.
The bag had lingered in the lost-and-found since November, when someone had handed it in to the security guards.
Inside the envelope, Segree found two $100 bills and vaccination records for Hobie and Belle, two cats whose owner was listed as David Joshua Allen of St. George Island.
Segree looked Allen up in the phone book and called. His wife Marie Allen answered the phone and was mystified about how the envelope had been left at the courthouse.
She called her husband, who was on the golf course in Port St. Joe, and he agreed to pick up the found money on his way home. He paid Segree a $50 reward for his good works.
“I was already having a good day because I was on the golf course. It just made it that much better,” said David Allen, in a telephone interview. “We try to live by the golden rule and it’s always nice when somebody does the same thing back. This is a good example of it. We’re very seldom disappointed in people.”
After thinking back on it, David Allen was able to solve the mystery of the envelope.
The money and shot records were originally attached to a cat carrier in the summer 2009 when the Allens went on a cruise. They left their cats in the care of neighbors and prepared the cage in the event the island was evacuated due to a storm.
The cats were never evacuated and eventually, the Allens bought another cage that fit more easily in their car, and the envelope, unopened, was removed and placed on David’s desk. He believes he must have grabbed the bag containing the money and papers when he came to the courthouse last November to buy tags for his car. Apparently, the package was found by an honest pedestrian who turned it in to Segree.
“He has a moral compass that points in the same direction as mine,” said Marie Allen.
Segree would accept no praise for his actions. “No way would my conscience allow me to take it,” he said. “Integrity is doing the right thing when nobody is watching.”
Johnson praised the security officer. “I think it’s a nice story to share,” she said.