NEWBERRY, Mich. (WJMN) – In a small are like Luce County, Neighbors look out for one another.

“This is a small community,” said Michael Jago, retired undersheriff, Luce County Sheriff’s Office. “I made a comment one time, something about, ‘Well, why do these people do that? They get no money for this.’ And I said, ‘Because that’s what small town communities do. They pull together.'”

One of those helpful neighbors is Mike Jago.

“Well I’ve been in law enforcement for 41 years, a little over 41 years,” said Jago. “Why I got into it, I guess I always wanted to. I tried to get in, in Detroit in the ’70s. That didn’t work out and then I came back here, tried to get back in. That didn’t work out. Then, I went to college on the G.I. Bill. Started college on the GI Bill over at Lake Superior [State University] and the sheriff asked me of I wanted a job. And I said, ‘Well yeah.’ So I went to the academy in ’81, in May of ’81 and been here since. I was here three years and became the undersheriff.”

That role came with many experiences along the way at the Luce County Sheriff’s Office.

“As far as any one thing, I really don’t know,” said Jago. “I mean, I just love the whole aspect of it. The whole thing. Somebody said, ‘Well, how do you like your job?’ I say, ‘You know, I can honestly say I love my job. I love my work.’ There’s times when I was working for, I was doing all of the P.S. work here, the protective service work. Some of that, I was glad after five years that someone else stepped up and they started using other people. That was probably some of the worst and then some of the worse parts were some of the accidents you see and the destruction. Things that happened at those things. But for the most part, I love my job. In fact, I think that’s one of the reasons I have so much trouble giving it up.”

It’s not just about serving his community, but also his country.

“I had over 38 years with the military, between being drafted in 1970 until I retired or was retired becuase of age from the Michigan National Guard,” said Jago.

At 71-years-old, Jago has retired from law enforcement, but it’s not his first time retiring.

“I had 30 years,” said Jago. “I came here in ’81 and then I retired [in 2011]. Then I went to camp, hunted, did my thing out at the camp, came home and then in December they had the snowmobile program which got started, snowmobile, ORV and marine program. When I was the undersheriff I got it started and the sheriff called me up and he said, ‘Hey you started it . Can you come back because I have nobody to do it?’ So I said said, ‘Sure I’ll come back, but I’m only coming back for the snowmobile.’ Well, then it went to ORV and in the last few years it’s been ORV, snowmobile and road patrol. During the COVID, we lost a deputy during the COVID. He called me up and said, ‘Would you be willing to come back and work for 16 hours?’ Which turned into 40 hours, which turned into overtime. But I could only work about 1,000 hours otherwise I have to suspend my retirement so that’s all they got out of me. So that’s why I was a part-time employee.”

Even though he says he’s done with law enforcement for good, Jago is still serving his community.

“I’m still working for Luce County EMS and Garfield over in Engadine,” said Jago.

Looking back at his career, he says he’d do it all over again.

“Yes, by all means,” said Jago. “I wished I was younger. I really wished I was younger. There’s nothing I regret about the job, I mean like I said, there’s times when you see things, you get involved with things and you’re just, ‘Ugh, I hate this.’ I didn’t hate the job, I hated what I had to do. I mean, I got along with lots of people. I mean even the guys that I had arrested. I had one kid one time, this was when we were still in the other office and I had my own office there as you walk in the door. He walked in and he’s sitting at my desk and said, ‘I’d like to shake your hand, Mr. Jago.’ I said, ‘You would? For what for?’ ‘Cause I want to thank you for helping me. Well, you arrested me and you had a long talk with me about things I was doing. Yeah I was stupid, I was foolish, I was young.’ I had to call my wife, I was almost in tears. It don’t happen very often in this job. I really, really enjoyed it.”