From the Peru Tribune website
By NANCY BENDER, firstname.lastname@example.org
Roland, 59, suffered a stroke in July and was undergoing rehabilitation in St. Louis, Mo. In September, he was diagnosed with having a rare, aggressive terminal brain tumor. According to a CaringBridge Web site created to inform friends of Roland’s condition, the tumor was on the right side of his brain and had branched over to the left side.
Roland had since returned to his Miami County home with family members. On Thursday, business was as usual at the Miami County Sheriff’s Office as former co-workers and long-time friends expressed their sadness of Roland’s passing.
“Kenny was a good friend of mine long before he became sheriff, because I worked with him at the Indiana State Police,” said MCSO Jail Matron Kim Brown. “He was a hard worker. He never let anything go unfinished and was a master of the details. Our new jail would not be what it is today if he had not watched every detail as it went up.
“He was a very caring person and took care of his ‘people’ whether it was employees or friends in any way he could. Case in point: he put on the (fundraiser) breakfast for Baby Jack Jumper and collected a very nice sum for the baby by going out and searching and working for it. He was a very good man and a good friend. I will miss him greatly.”
While Roland was absent from office due to his illnesses, MCSO Major Tim Hunter was the acting sheriff.
“(Roland’s illness and passing) has been quite a sad time and a loss of a very good friend, not only to me, but also to the community,” said Hunter. “It’s tragic. I think Ken has served this community exceptionally well and I believe the public and his family can be proud of his accomplishments.
“It’s been tough to sit back and watch (Roland during his illness). We’ve been friends for 35 years and that’s a long time. He will be missed a lot, but I think we can take comfort that he is in a far better place and out of pain and suffering. Our thoughts and prayers are definitely with the family at this difficult time.”
On Saturday, newly elected Sheriff Tim Miller officially took office.
“Obviously, we are all saddened,” said Miller Thursday morning. “He fought hard. I prayed he would have comfort. I was so impressed with the family members and friends who were there and took great loving care of (Roland). He knew they were there and he appreciated it.
“He was a good friend and will be missed my many.”
Shortly after Roland returned to his home in Mexico from St. Louis, Mo., the MCSO kept a running sign-up sheet for donated food for the Roland family and visitation.
“I just thank the entire Roland family for opening their hearts and home to our community and giving us the opportunity in sharing our special moments and memories with them and Ken during these recent times, which will last a life time,” said Melinda Ross, MCSO receptionist. “I not only had the great honor of working in law enforcement with Ken these past 28 years, but having a special bond as a friend and a brother to me as his door was always open to talk. The sky was the limit as it truly is now with him.
“I also want to thank all the women and men of our community for their overwhelming outpouring of daily nourishing food, visits, and thoughts and prayers shared with Ken and his family, providing strength, support and encouragement. I am truly proud of my hometown of Peru and stand beside our caring residents as we all graciously come together when the call is given. Thank you and God bless you all.”
During Roland’s tenure, the planning and construction of the new Miami County Jail became a reality. In January 2010, the MCSO completed the move, inconspicuously transporting more than 70 inmates from the former facility on Court Street to the current structure at 1104 W. 200 North. In that time frame, Roland was involved with the Miami County Jail Transition Team and worked closely with the Miami County Board of Commissioners.
“Ken was very much professional in his job and responsibilities,” said Gary Hawley, former Miami County Commissioner who served six of Roland’s eight years in office. “He was also very tenacious in performing his job and responsibilities. There was never a time that I can think of that when I called him to ask a question or for advice that he didn’t return my call.
“He was very personable. I’ll never forget the desire he had to make sure Miami County has the best (jail) facility for the budget approved. He worked tirelessly. He spent hours upon hours and was very involved and committed to serve the community. Most of all, Ken was a good friend, and I’m really going to miss him.”
Though Roland has been absent for several months of his last year in office, his influence as a leader left an impression for several of his co-workers.
“Ken Roland was not only sheriff, but a friend,” said MCSO Capt. Mike Rogers. “He will be greatly missed not only by the law enforcement community, but by the community in general. Ken displayed a great deal of leadership qualities and professionalism which have influenced me in my personal and professional life. His friendship and leadership will not be forgotten.”
Prior to being elected sheriff, Roland had retired from the Indiana State Police after serving 28 years.