(WHBC) – Trooper Bryan Sponaugle has been selected as the 2018 Trooper of the Year at the Canton post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Sponaugle says the award was unexpected, but he’s very honored to be recognized by his colleagues.

Fellow officers stationed at the Canton post chose Trooper Sponaugle based on leadership abilities, professional ethics, courteous treatment of others, enthusiastic work attitude, and cooperation with supervisors, peers, and the public.

Sponaugle joined the highway patrol in 2007 and has also served at the Steubenville and Wooster Posts.

He says the job has its challenges, like responding to a bad crash scene and seeing things no one would want to, but it’s also very rewarding in that it allows him to be in a position to help people.

Sponaugle says he likes interacting with the public, and jokes that he enjoys all the new excuses he hears for breaking the law.

“You think you’ve heard them all, but then someone comes up with a new one and it kind of makes your day.”

Originally from Mineral City and a 2003 graduate of Tusky Valley High School, Sponaugle served in the U.S. Marine Corp and was awarded with the Combat Action Ribbon and Purple Heart.

Other highway patrol awards received in the past include; Health and Fitness award, Criminal Patrol award and Safe Driving award

Winning the award at the Canton post put Sponaugle up for the district award, but that went to Tara Worner of the Akron post, who will attend a ceremony in February in which the overall trooper of the year award will be announced.