Lee second-grader, Chief for a Day

Douglas County Chief for a Day Dwight Oliver poses with his family and with Sheriff Harvey Gjesdal. Pictured are Winter Oliver, Michelle Oliver, Harvey Gjesdal, Hayden Oliver and Dwight Oliver. (Empire Press photos by Karen Larsen)

By Karen Larsen
Empire Press Correspondent

For the 16th year in a row, the Apple Blossom Festival began with a ceremony in Wenatchee’s Memorial Park to recognize six elementary school students who serve the area’s law enforcement agencies as “Chief for a Day.”

Douglas County Sheriff Harvey Gjesdal looks on as Michelle Oliver pins a badge on Douglas County Chief for a Day Dwight Oliver.

The students suffer from either life threatening conditions or chronic diseases. They represent the Wenatchee and East Wenatchee Police Departments, the Chelan and Douglas County Sheriff’s Offices, the Washington State Patrol and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife.

 

This year’s Chief for a Day for Douglas County was Dwight Oliver, a second-grader at Lee Elementary School.

Oliver was introduced to the crowd by Douglas County Sheriff Harvey Gjesdal. Gjesdal joked that he worried a little bit about use of force issues when he learned that Oliver’s favorite cartoon character was Hulk Smash. However, he didn’t worry about that long.

Douglas County Chief for a Day Dwight Oliver poses with his family and with Sheriff Harvey Gjesdal. Pictured are Winter Oliver, Michelle Oliver, Harvey Gjesdal, Hayden Oliver and Dwight Oliver.

“He’s going to do okay—that’s for sure,” Gjesdal said.

Gjesdal added that Oliver’s teacher commented on his good leadership qualities.

Oliver wants to be a fireman when he grows up, but he was good with being Chief of the Sheriff’s Office for the day.

Oliver’s mother, Michelle Oliver, said that Dwight was ecstatic about the opportunity.

“All the energy has been building up to today,” she said.

Following the ceremony, Gjesdal, who will be retiring at the end of the year, was a little sad to think that this was his last time to celebrate “Chief for a Day.”

He said that what he enjoys most about the tradition is getting to know the families of the children.

He said of Dwight Oliver, “He’s a very poised young man.”

The “Chief for a Day” participants were each given a uniform of the agency they represent and they had the chance to ride in a patrol car. Following the ceremony, they were given a bag of gifts, lunch and cake in the Wenatchee Library building.