OKALOOSA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — Deputy Paul Brown, made honorary Major with the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, ended the longest tenure in department history with his retirement on Friday.

Paul Brown joined then Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Department in June of 1977 working at the Okaloosa County jail. Brown made it to road patrol that same year before retiring the first time as a Captain in 2011, marking 35 years of service.

However, Brown was not done and came back to OCSO in 2012 as a deputy. Deputy Brown was put in charge of the armory division and has worked at that post for 10 years.

Paul Brown retires from OCSO after 45 years

Living history filled the OCSO Shalimar Office as Brown’s large family and longtime co-workers (some retired) came to support him. Sheriff Eric Aden called Brown a role model at the ceremony and shared multiple stories of Brown’s impact on his career.

“I remember another funny time, I was a young deputy, came back from college and came to work. I remember Hurricane Opal hit he taught me one of the biggest lessons in life is to always be prepared. “I was not prepared. I was a young college kid just coming out of school. I’ve been through Hurricanes born and raised here, but never realized what my expectations were. So I’m sitting at the house as Hurricane Opal is bearing down on us in 1995, and I had no uniforms clean. They were all at the cleaners because I was off for my two days and they were supposed to be ready before my next tour of duty.

Well, I’m sitting around scared to death, and I get called in as we all did, everybody that worked at the agency, all 160 of us at the time. So I threw on my red Tommy Hilfiger and blue jeans and my gun. And I remember having to meet a heart to transport, to take it down to the hospital for a transplant and I had to meet then Lieutenant Paul Brown and he was up there at the intersection and looked at me and said ‘son, what are you wearing?’ And I said, ‘Sir, I don’t have any uniforms clean.’ I felt like I had let my father down I was so upset with myself.”

Well, the joke was kind of on him a few days later when nobody had any clean clothes. And everybody went to wearing what they had because there were no dry cleaners or anything open and no washing machines working for several weeks,” said Aden. “But still a lesson in life, always be prepared. Always have a crisp, clean uniform.”

Sheriff Eric Aden, Okaloosa County

Several retirees, friends and active OCSO staff told stories and thanked Brown for his service. Brown is a father of eight and said he looks forward to spending time on his Okaloosa County farm.

“I always made it a point when dealing with my coworkers and the public to treat them with respect and as you can see, it’s paid wonderful dividends. “I just want everybody to know I’m truly one of those people that I’m blessed because I can truthfully say that you know, if you love your job, you love what you’re doing you’ll never work a day because every day you’re doing what you wanted to do. So I thank this agency and the different sheriffs that I’ve worked for. I thank this Agency for allowing me to do what I’ve done that has brought me so much pleasure and satisfaction in my work life.”

Paul Brown, Reitred from OCSO after 45 years

Brown gave a tearful thank you to his wife for her continuous support during his time with OCSO.

“I thank my family, basically my wife for allowing me to do this for 45 years,” said Brown. “That’s where I get emotional ’cause I know the price they paid.”

OCSO presented Brown with a retirement gift, a gun box holding an old revolver with the original OCSD stamp before the department changed to OCSO.

Special guests at the ceremony included a plastic T-Rex figurine with the words ‘Official Agency Dinosaur’ written on the front. Brown explained the toy was a gift to him from the armory division.

Retiring as captain in 2011, Brown was known as the ‘agency dinosaur’ for being around for his tenure. The department made him a T-rex for also working in the ‘small-arms’ department when he returned to service.