Westmoreland County Sheriff James Albert recently announced that he has named Thomas Abraham, a U.S. Army veteran and Unity Township resident, as the department’s new chief deputy.

Abraham is a native of the Greensburg area, graduating from Greensburg-Salem High School, where he excelled in football and wrestling before competing in both sports at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

An Army lieutenant and Vietnam veteran who served as company commander for advanced infantry training, Abraham was a graduate of the U.S. Army Intelligence School and its Airborne Ranger School.

After his military service, Abraham worked in management for the Polaroid Corporation and later for Montgomery County in Maryland.

Albert said he’s known Abraham for most of his life and touted Abraham’s administrative experience as a benefit to the sheriff’s department.

“His background in the military was great, but he had background in budgets and so forth for many years with the Polaroid Corporation and he was the director in the same kind of area of work for Montgomery County government in Maryland for some years before he came back to Greensburg,” Albert said.

Abraham is also the founder of Veterans Angels, a nonprofit that assists veterans who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Albert noted.

Abraham’s primary role in the sheriff’s office will be to assist in “an administrative capacity to help with the budgets. We work on the budget year-round, an approximately $4 million budget. We’ve got 90 employees in the Sheriff’s Office, we’ve got 30 vehicles. People don’t realize that. He said ‘That was kind of my expertise after the service,’ so I brought him as an administrative chief to work with the guys somewhat in a limited capacity, but mostly to help us out here in the office.”

Abraham enters the role as Albert’s second-in-command following the departure of Roger Eckels from the post in February. Eckels, a retired district judge from the Mount Pleasant area, served as Chief Deputy for a little more than a year before stepping down to spend more time with family. He has remained involved with the department on a part-time basis, Albert said, assisting with firearms training and certification for deputies.

“You’ve got to surround yourself with quality people, you really do,” Albert said. “I went into this job, when I ran and I won I had a couple months to put a team together and we did, I’ve got a great chief, I still have a great captain and lieutenants. The office is running well and it makes life easier for me.

“You’ve got to be able to work with the people and get along with them. I’ve known Tom all my life and when I brought him in, it’s compatible. We’ll work well together.

“I have a captain and lieutenants who do the operations with the deputies and we have almost 80 deputies. Tom will assist my office manager and the assistant manager and clerical staff. He’s already working on the budget and I’ve got him doing some things like that. It’s a real good fit.”

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