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Gus Proctor’s “retirement” lasted all of two weeks.

He had only just stepped aside from his role as a sergeant in the Charles County Sheriff’s Department in late August, when he re-joined the department in a new role — the perfect position for him.

As Community Organizer, Proctor now had free rein to focus his full attention on many of the pursuits that he had already become known for, above and beyond his law enforcement duties.

The common thread that runs through them all?

Gus Proctor wanted to give back to the county that raised him. And he wanted to actively encourage others to do the same.

Many will recognize him as the public face of the Special Olympics Torch Run in Charles County, for which he has coordinated fundraising since 2006 and helped the organization raise nearly $1 million in that time.

You may also know him for his immense efforts to support LifeStyles of Maryland, specifically our Easter Basket giveaways in the spring and our Toy Drive during the holiday season.

“For me, it’s a pride thing because of where I came from,” he said. “Being in a position to give back just a little, I’m going to do my part to leave this county a little better than where I started here.”

Proctor has been working with LifeStyles for more than 15 years now. He was drawn to the organization by Executive Director Sandy Washington’s passion for the community and her commitment to offering a hand up to those willing to work hard to improve their circumstances.

What sticks out most in his mind is a conversation he had with Washington just before Christmas a few years ago. She told him that LifeStyles was trying to help 600 families during the holidays but that the Toy Drive had only yielded seven or eight bicycles.

“I said, ‘Oh, no. We can do better than that,’” he recalls. “The first bike drive we did, we got over 200 bicycles. Every adult remembers their first bicycle. We need to create those memories again.”

Proctor brings that same drive and dedication to every community effort he supports. He succeeds because he brings a personal touch. He doesn’t work by phone call or email. He gets out into the community, visiting local citizens, businesses and organizations.

When they see him walk through the door, they know the effort is sincere. When they hear him talk about the cause, they know that anything they may give will be put to good use.

“I’m very transparent,” he said. “I’ll let you know exactly what your contribution went to. It’s not going to pay some CEO’s six-figure salary. We put together 450 baskets for LifeStyles. It was so fun. We posed for a picture with all the Easter Baskets. Every one was distributed locally.”

Proctor is eager to share the good news and generosity of our community. He regularly snaps photos with donors and posts them to his popular Facebook page, creating an interactive community of people proud to give back and to support each other.

“Gus’ excitement and compassion are contagious,” Washington said. “You’ll see the banner he uses in many of his photos for LifeStyles. It says, “Charles County Cares.” This is true, of course. And one of the reasons that Charles Couny cares so much is that Gus Proctor truly cares about the people of our county, and he inspires others.”

In his new role as Community Organizer, he is free to pursue the feel-good endeavors that he has become known for. He also coordinates the Sheriff’s Department’s role in some of its signature public events, such as National Night Out, the Charles County Fair and Project Graduation.

“I could not do it without the support from Sheriff [Troy] Berry,” Proctor said. “He is 1,000 percent in support.”

It’s the perfect job for the perfect person — at the perfect time. Like everywhere else during this pandemic, Charles County has many people who are struggling right now. But our community also has a big heart and many more people who are driven to help. Proctor is focused on creating the connections that help make transformation possible.

“This county is one of the most amazing counties as far as giving back,” he said. “Charles County is like no other. It’s simply amazing how we come together and take care of one another.”