Dear Editor, 

Please allow me to congratulate Mr. Robert Phillips on his recent election to be the next Sheriff of Charlton County Georgia.  Robert will make a fine Sheriff; he has the experience in law enforcement, and knows the people well, for his family roots run deep in the sand hills of South Georgia. 

Charlton County has been served well by the Men in Blue, during the years that I resided there. In this day, when our law enforcement officers are being vilified by the rise of Marxism, it’s refreshing for me to recall the men that I have known who “wore the blue, the gray, or the brown”. I won’t attempt to recall them all less I miss some deserving officer, but I need to mention a few. First, I want to mention Buddy Steedley who died in the line of duty in the nineteen seventies while serving his community; a good officer and a fine gentleman. (My wife Sarah, who served as Judge JS Haddock’s Court Clerk for twenty-eight years, cared for Buddy’s toddler so all of the family could attend his funeral. We are saddened by the recent passing of our friend, Judge Haddock)

At that time, I was serving as Police Commissioner for the City of Folkston and Dobie Conner, the present Sheriff, was a City Police officer and a good one, too; however, he earned me a tongue lashing from one of the fair mothers in the community when he had to arrest her son for disorderly conduct! He overcame that event and went on to serve Charlton County very well over these many years; I wish him much success in his retirement.

Then there was Nicky Coleman, a local young man, who lost his life in the service of his community too. His end of watch (EOW) occurred on Sunday, May 19, 1985. He was an Officer with the Camden County Sheriff’s office. He was struck by vehicle while on duty.  (If my memory serves me right, Nicky played on one of our first organized youth little league baseball teams in the seventies) 

Of course there was Sheriff Ray Gibson and Kenneth Wainwight; both outstanding Sheriffs. I also want to thank Pender Lloyd and Wesley Green for their service as Chiefs of Police for the city of Folkston and for those of the city of Homeland as well. 

(The Homeland police department would loan us their only police car when Folkston’s one car was out of service.  Those were much simpler times)  

I can’t recall any one of all these men that didn’t give their very best for the people of Charlton County. My hat’s off to all of you gentlemen and gentlewomen too-- JoDee Gibson, State Trooper, daughter of Sheriff Ray Gibson, Thank you JoDee, for your service.

Last, but not least, I recall reading of  an Officer White,  Warden of the Charlton County Work Camp, being shot and killed in Homeland in the 1920’s. No officer should be forgotten! I’m sure there are others.  I just wish I knew or could recall all of you  who served, but as I approach eighty-five years on this earth, my memory fails me. Sarah speaks well of these folks for she worked closely with them all.  She sends her greetings and congratulations. 

With Mr. Robert Phillips as Sheriff and Mr. Wesley Green as Folkston Police Chief, the community will continue to be in good hands. May Charlton County always have honorable men and women to serve them as “Servants in Blue, Gray or Brown”! 

 God Bless you all and your families, and God bless Charlton County, Georgia where “all the women are good looking and all the kids are above average,” as Garrison Keeler would say! 

Catch the Spirit, Charlton County!

After writing this, I had the opportunity to attend a “Support the Blue” parade and rally in Franklin, NC near my present home. It was a wonderful expression of love and affection for those who risk their lives every day for their friends, neighbors, and strangers! A wreath was laid at the Macon County Courthouse flag pole in memory of those Officers who lost their lives in the line of duty.  Perhaps the people of Charlton County could do the same for your law enforcement family. It only takes one person to get the ball rolling! Let them know that you love them and have their backs! Would it not be a wonderful thing if every county in this great land celebrated with a “Support the Blue” rally?  Perhaps Charlton County Citizens could help make this happen!  “For evil to triumph only requires good men to keep silent”!  Matt. 5:9 says “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God!”

Jim and Sarah 

Steeley, 

Otto, NC. 

Those who may wish to respond, we can be reached at jsteeley@dnet.net.