HCSO Deputy Sam Wilhoit, his wife and their 4-year-old son were left with only the clothes on their backs Monday after an apparent electrical fire destroyed their rented mobile home, which was located just inside the Greene County line.
Sheriff Ronnie Lawson said Wilhoit is probably best known for single-handedly capturing a man accused in 2011 of murdering his parents in Knox County. The suspect had fled to Hawkins County and stolen a vehicle.
“That was some outstanding police work, but I get compliments from people in the community on a regular basis about Deputy Wilhoit’s service on a daily basis, his demeanor on calls and how he treats people,” Lawson said Tuesday evening. “On a daily basis he helps people who have experienced a devastating loss, and now he and his family have experienced a devastating loss. In just the past 24 hours the response from the public and various agencies has been tremendous. They’ve donated furniture, a washer and dryer, clothes, and other things.
“They still need a lot of things. mostly just regular household items.”
Lawson said anyone who has something to donate can call his office at 423-272-4848. But, he said, the best thing people can do to help at this point is make a cash donation so Wilhoit’s family can buy the things they need. Lawson said this would also help avoid the donation of duplicate items.
Wilhoit was on patrol at the time of the fire, and his wife, Crystal, was at work in Greeneville. Their 4-year-old son, Shane, was with family.
HCSO Chief Deputy Tony Allen said the family did not have insurance, and gift cards from businesses such as Walmart, Target and grocery stores will also be beneficial.
“Any assistance will be accepted at the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office,” Allen said. “No check can be accepted for assistance with Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office named on it. Please make the check out to Sam Wilhoit.”
Donations can be mailed or dropped off at the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office. The address is: Attention: Sam Wilhoit, 117 Justice Center Drive, Rogersville, TN 37857.