MORGANTOWN, W.Va. –– The Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department offered a young county resident with muscular dystrophy a chance to see the ins and outs of how a sheriff’s office operates.

Young David Burnworth and his mother were shopping at Retail Circle when he saw Monongalia County Court Security Officer David McDougal and struck up conversation. David then tols McDougal he would love to see the insode of a police station and sit in a patrol car.

Young Burnworth and his family members took advantage of the offer on Monday, when they were taken inside the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department headquarters in Morgantown. Throughout the day, Burnworth got a chance to be in the driver’s seat of a Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department cruiser, see how criminal processing works, and learn the inner workings of a law enforcement officer.

“It was very nice to go down there,” said Kim Burnworth, mother of David. “We learned a lot, it made him feel good, and he felt special,” she said.

According to Burnworth’s mother, the appointment was arranged with the help of longtime Monongalia County Courthouse bailiff Dave McDougal, a veteran of the sheriff’s department. Once they arrived at their Morgantown headquarters, David was greeted by Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Mark Ralston and other members of the department and shown the processing room where he got his fingerprint taken. They were then given a tour of some of the holding areas before they met with other members of the department to see the things they do on a daily basis.

“We were able to make contact with his mother, and other family members came down with David on Monday,” said Ralston. “We were able to give him a total tour of our office and explain how certain things work,” he said.

After the tour, Burnworth’s family got a chance to interact with the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department K-9 unit and some of the senior members of the department. This included a chance for David to see the inside of a deputy cruiser, with Sgt. Nest helping him show how to use the sirens, fire on the police lights, and hear real-time responses to emergency calls. These activities, along with interactions with deputies around the physical training room and other parts of the Morgantown headquarters, were more than welcomed by Ralston and other members of the department, as much as they were appreciated by David and his family.

“He had his own little K-9 demonstration with Deputy Morton, one of our new K-9 officers, and he was able to help with Sgt. Nest,” said Ralston. “He was also able to actually sit in one of our vehicles,” he said.

David Burnworth has been battling Duchenne muscular dystrophy since he was five years old, and he was also given a life expectancy of less than ten years to live. Since his diagnosis, he has spent a significant amount of his life traveling around the tri-state region, meeting with doctors, and not doing the things kids his age normally do. While David and his mother are more than aware of the challenges that await him, a once-in-a-lifetime meeting with people he considers heroes will be one thing that will keep his positive outlook shining.

“When we got his diagnosis, it hit really hard, and just when you think that nobody out there cares, you find people that do,” said Burnworth.

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