Mt Laurel Elem. welcomes back Deputy Buford

Published 4:12 pm Monday, October 15, 2018

MT LAUREL – Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Carnell Buford received a hero’s welcome upon his return to Mt Laurel Elementary School on Oct. 1.

Buford has been the MLES School Resource Officer for about five years, but as a member of the United States Air Force, Buford has been deployed twice while in that role.

Most recently, Buford was deployed to Kuwait for a year.

When he returned to the school, he was surprised to see the entire school—about 570 students in kindergarten through fifth grade—gathered in the gymnasium to welcome him back.

“We just all got together and thought, ‘What can we do to honor him and let him know what he means to us?’” Assistant Principal Tina Neighbors said. “He’s a hero. Not only does he protect our school, but he’s fighting for our country.”

Buford entered the gym to applause, cheers, hugs from faculty and staff, and then a big “Thank you for your service!” from the students.

Several students spoke about why Buford was important to them:

“You’re special because you help our country and we love you.”

“You’re special because you help our country.”

“You’re special because of what all you do for our country.”

“You’re special because you’ve served so hard for all of us.”

“You’re special because you help us every single day.”

MLES teacher and veteran Sam Scott saluted Buford and thanked him for his service.

Buford, who is from Georgia, joined the SCSO in 2005.

The most recent deployment was his fourth, dating back to 2008, including trips to Kyrgyzstan (twice) and United Arab Emirates.

“The kids, we’ve been around them for so long, they become like your own kids,” Buford said. “I was like, that was so much love in that room that day. It left me speechless.”