O.L. Raulerson honored with street naming ceremony

OKEECHOBEE — On Friday, Feb. 9, at 8 a.m. a dedication ceremony was held renaming Northwest Fourth Street to “O.L. Raulerson Jr. Street” in front of the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO).

OCSO Sheriff Noel Stephen described who O.L. Raulerson was to the crowd, for those unfamiliar with the former long-time Sheriff.

O. L. Raulerson’s wife Judy Raulerson (bottom), son Todd Raulerson (left) and daughter Laurie Raulerson Stephen stand next to the newly minted sign brandishing O. L.’s name. Photos by Richard Marion.

“His career started before most of us were born. He was a soft spoken man to some and a cop’s cop to others. He served as sheriff in Highlands County in 1970, following the passing of Sheriff Joe D. Keene, and years later served as the Sheriff of Okeechobee County in 1986, following the passing of Sheriff John Collier. He was later elected by the citizens of Okeechobee County in 1988. He served two terms but lost his election in 1996, once again, only to run and win his seat back in 2001.”

Sheriff Stephen highlighted how O.L.’s presence was felt by not only the sheriff’s office and amongst members of the law enforcement community but also that of the general population of the county in which he served.

“He exemplified how to treat each other right, treating employees like family and yet completing the mission of protecting lives and property. He strived to make this community better for people to work, sleep and play.”

The family and their endeavors to have O.L. remembered were acknowledged and made a reality at the ceremony.

“The family has done a few things over the years in an effort to remember O.L. but nothing seemed to take root. This will forever give us a pleasant reminder of the great man, Sheriff O.L. Raulerson,” stated Sheriff Stephen. In attendance at the ceremony were O.L.’s wife, Judy; daughter, Laurie; son, Todd; and grandsons, Cory, Jared and Cody.

On behalf of the family, OCSO and himself, Sheriff Stephen thanked Okeechobee City Mayor, Dowling R. Watford Jr., who addressed those in attendance.

“I think his greatest legacy is going to be the influence he has had on those that are serving in law enforcement now in our current sheriff’s department. On behalf of the city council we are pleased to do this to honor O.L.,”; City Council members; Noel Chandler, Monica Clark, Mike O’ Connor, and Gary Ritter along with City Administrator, Marcos Montes De Oca, for the “wonderful recognition of the great man, Sheriff O.L. Raulerson.”

At the closing of the street renaming ceremony, O.L.’s wife Judy Raulerson stated, “I thought it was wonderful and exciting. We are so proud of O.L.”

Sheriff Noel Stephen (left) unveils the new sign honoring former sheriff O. L. Raulerson next to O. L.’s wife Judy Raulerson (right).


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