Meet the Officer: OPD Major Donald Hagan

OKEECHOBEE — Major Donald Hagan was born 1970 in Fort Pierce and was raised here in Okeechobee by his father Donald C. Hagan Sr. and his mother formally Mary Jones, now Mary Rumbaugh. Both of his parents, Mary and Donald Sr., as well as his aunt who now resides in Alabama, Becky Jones, graduated from Okeechobee High School (OHS). During the summer he would travel throughout Florida with his grandparents in their RV. On their trips, they would go to different state parks and visit with family members. Major Hagan also said that they would ride all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), and fish on the nearly 300 acres at his aunt’s place in northern Alabama. As a kid, he also enjoyed playing baseball.

Major Donald Hagan, OPD

Major Hagan graduated from OHS in 1988 with his favorite subject to study being History.

As with a lot of teenagers, his fondness for attending school was driven by the motivation to spend time with friends. The process of getting up and ready for school was the part that he conveyed disliking the most about the whole experience.

After his graduation from high school, Major Hagan chose join the service and follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, who retired after 20 years of service spent between the United States Army Air Corps. and United States Air Force. However, during his training, Major Hagan was medically discharged from the United States Armed Forces.

He then began a series of jobs ranging from his first one at Giles Nursery, where he would pull weeds from growing rose bushes at the age of 13, to handling deliveries for Scotty’s Hardware and even performing underground utilities. It was the utilization of the HYDRASET that made the work of the underground utilities his least liked job saying, ‘I hated getting in holes to apply the mixture, I was blistered several times at work from it.”

HYDRASET is a calcium chloride concrete set accelerator ready-to-use, liquid admixture. It accelerates the initial setting time one to three times faster than normal mortar and concrete.

After his own personal trials and tribulations, Major Hagan then decided to take courses at what is now Indian River State College for a short period of time before leaving with the stated reason of practicality being, “I realized you take a lot of useless courses.” His passion for wanting to make a positive difference and genuinely help people was recognized by members from the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office, at the time Lieutenant, Leona, and her OCSO Auxiliary husband, Richard Hawk.

After being recruited by the Hawk’s, Major Hagan then attended the Corrections Academy and began his career as a Detention Deputy for OCSO before then attending the Law Enforcement Academy. When asked what one of his most memorable moments from his experiences in the academies was, Major Hagan laughingly stated, “I remember how easy the running aspect of the physical training was back then compared to now. I hated running back then and I hate it now, but the difference is that I was at least good at it back then.”

He has been in law enforcement since 1991, with 25 of those years since being spent here in his hometown of Okeechobee. When asked how he felt his career created value in his life aside from collecting a paycheck, Major Hagan stated: “The feeling you get when you can help someone who really needs it, is very rewarding. We work in a field where there really isn’t too much positivity associated with the position. The few opportunities to help others, that this occupation does provide, is what really makes the job worth it day in and day out.”

He credited former Glades County Sheriff’s Office Captain Ludwig Romero as being his biggest influence. “He would chew you up and spit you out for the things that were wrong or needed correcting but afterward was like your best friend. He was a great role model to understanding how someone could be your supervisor and still be your friend at the end of the day.” He and his younger brother, OCSO Deputy Brian Hagan, are the first members of their family to work in the field of law enforcement.

Major Hagan shares a 9-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter with his wife, Jeannie, who is also an Emergency Dispatch Operator for the Seminole Police Department at the Brighton Seminole Indian Reservation. He said that if he could live in any time period it would be the 1940s or 1950s. “I think our country was at its peak during that era in regards to moral and familial values and it would be a nice experience contrasted with that of today.” Major Hagan said that if he could meet anyone it would be former United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, stating, “He had to make some very tough decisions during his time in office and I would find it very intriguing to have been around the inner workings of his presidency, especially his handling of World War II.”

When he’s not worried about personnel scheduling, attending meetings, performing safety and officer checks throughout the city, conducting a radio talk show with Billy Dean of WOKC the first Thursday of every month and many other employment related functions, he loves to ride ATVs and is ecstatic for anything that involves mountain bikes. He is also a fan of college football with his favorite team being the Florida State University Seminoles.

“Since the players in the NFL have decided recently to use their platform as professional athletes to voice their political opinions,” stated the Major, “I have pretty much stopped watching professional football but I used to like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Coach Jon “Chucky” Gruden.”

Major Hagan said that of all the super-human powers he could think of, that he would like to possess one similar to that of Marvel’s Wolverine. Not only to would he have the ability to physically heal himself, like the character, but would also want to be able to heal others.

“Some of the hardest things that we, as first responders, have to deal with involves injury or the death of people. Being able to heal others in these times and myself, if necessary, seems like the best possible power to have.”

The Lake Okeechobee News is published every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and now includes news from around the lake every Wednesday.

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