SEVIERVILLE — The Sevier County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the community’s support and prayers as a popular officer is in the hospital battling COVID-19.

Sgt. Robert Stoffle has served with the department for 22 years. A Sevier County High School grad, he returned to the county after a stint with the U.S. Air Force and went to work with the sheriff’s office.

He’s built a lot of relationships over that time, Sheriff Ron Seals said.

“He’s just one of those guys, he’s always looking for a way to help,” Seals said.

He’s also known as a dedicated family man — he and his wife, Margie, are raising two teenage sons who are autistic and nonverbal.

When he is not working, he is almost always home or with his family, Seals said.

“If ever there was a dad that needed to get home to his boys, this is the one,” he said.

Last Friday, Stoffle went to LeConte Medical Center with respiratory issues from COVID-19. His family had tested positive for the virus, according to posts they shared on social media, but while his wife and sons have been recovering Stoffle’s symptoms grew worse.

Now he’s in an induced coma and on a ventilator, as doctors work to restore his oxygen levels.

As word spread, officers began sharing posts on social media asking for people to pray for Stoffle.

Monday evening, officers from several departments got together in the hospital parking lot to pray for him.

“We just wanted to get as close as we could to him and pray for him,” Seals said. “Somebody went on the roof and took video and pictures so they could show him.”

They hope that the community will continue to support him as he works to get better.

“He’s holding his own right now. He got a little better today,” Seals said Tuesday.

Contact Jeff at jfarrell@themountainpress.com or Twitter at @jeffmtnpress

Contact Jeff at jfarrell@themountainpress.com or Twitter at @jeffmtnpress