A young man from Lumberton is working hard toward becoming a police officer.
His dedication to the field is catching the eye of others in the community.
Sam Jones was just awarded a scholarship covering his police academy training costs.
The 21-year-old says he's determined to be the good guy behind the badge.
Every Saturday and Sunday you'll find him greeting customers and serving up slices of pie at Brick Oven Pizza Co. in Lumberton.
Sam has been waiting tables for a couple of years.
He will not be wearing the server apron forever.
Sam is working on trading it in for a police badge.
"It's always been my dream to be a police officer," said Sam. "I believe in myself. I feel like it's my calling and I just can't wait to get out there."
Sam's inspiration is his dad; a former police officer in Silsbee.
"My Dad was a cop when he was younger and I'm just kind of following in his footsteps," said Sam. "All the stories he told me growing up really just kind of sparked my interest."
Sam says he knows what he's signing up to do. He's seen the headlines, read the bloody details of officer ambushes, slayings, and heard about people distrusting officers.
He's determined to serve his community despite those risks.
"I hate sitting at home and not being able to do anything," said Sam. "That's another reason why I want to be in law enforcement."
Plus, he says, there is always support pouring in.
"I feel like our area is very supportive of law enforcement," said Sam. "That's another reason why I would love to work in this area."
Sam is currently training at the local police academy.
The cadet just found out his expenses are being paid off thanks to the Sgt. Bill Jordan & Sgt. Al Harlan Memorial Scholarship.
"I was very blessed to receive it and I'm very thankful and honored for that."
He was chosen by the board of the Officer Byran Hebert Memorial Foundation after submitting an application, writing an essay and even going through an interview.
"Not only did it help financially, it's like a huge wave of motivation for me for the Academy. "
Sam says once his cadet days are over, he'll apply to be a patrol officer and finish a criminal justice degree at Lamar University.
"I think the future of law enforcement is looking really good," said Sam. "I can't wait to get out there and help protect the community and serve the public."
A future that Sam hopes to help shape.
In his free time, the cadet loves muscle cars, working out and is even a certified scuba diver.
He says his mom is his biggest fan.
Sam is already working on applications to police departments that he'll be dropping off throughout Southeast Texas.