[Photo: Roderick Virgil, appointed interim sheriff.]
By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • Roderick Virgil said Monday that he is excited to be sworn in to serve out the remainder of the late Sheriff Dr. Hubert Peterkin’s term, and he plans to run for election to the office of Hoke County Sheriff next year.
“I’m excited, thrilled, a little nervous because this is a new journey for me. However because I am a native of Hoke County and I’ve worked in emergency services in pretty much every capacity, currently a reserve deputy now, I feel pretty good about everything simply because of the support system that I’ve already established,” he said.
Virgil has been a reserve deputy for about 10 years and currently serves in that role, and also as a part of the Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team (SERT). He is a flight paramedic with Cape Fear Valley Health, a position he’s held since 2016. He was previously a rapid response paramedic for Cape Fear Valley Health and a critical care paramedic for the University of North Carolina Hospital. He was the county’s emergency medical services director/system administrator with American Medical Response from 2009-2011. He served as a paramedic with various healthcare systems from 1999 to 2009.
Virgil completed basic law enforcement training in 2010 at Sandhills Community College. He previously studied emergency medical technology and emergency medical science at Robeson Community College.
From the age of 16 he served as a volunteer firefighter with the Hillcrest Fire Department, and was with the department for more than 16 years.
According to News-Journal records, in 2014 Virgil was one of several officers who helped save the life of a child who nearly drowned.
Having experience as a reserve deputy, volunteer firefighter and EMS director “helps out a whole lot,” Virgil said. In his personal life, Virgil is a member of St. James Church of God where he is also the church organist. He is also the president/CEO of Quality Lawn Care.
The new appointee said he was close with the late sheriff.
“I’m excited to carry out the vision that Sheriff Peterkin had. He was a mentor to me. He was not only a mentor. He was almost like a father. We would talk every week, we would text, he would encourage me, correct me whenever I was wrong,” he said. “I really feel deep down inside that he prepped me for something that was greater that I didn’t even know about, which is this position as Hoke County Sheriff. I’m excited to work with the staff. I’ve worked with some of them previously, but to be in this position to help lead along with working with the commissioners and the support of the community, I’m really, really excited.”
The new interim sheriff said he plans to be open-minded and learn from others as he steps into the position.
“You have to be humble, you have to be open-minded, and you have to be teachable. So all of those things I truly possess…once you operate in those areas, everything else will come. You’ll get the confidence, you’ll gain the knowledge once you open up your ears and allow people to come into your circle to teach you,” Virgil said.
For his first day in the office, he said he looks forward to becoming familiar with all the sheriff’s office staff.
“Now I’m envisioning introducing myself to the staff, again, becoming very personable with the front desk because I’ll be encountering them every day in the office, the higher-ups. And just getting to know people because the office can’t run unless we have a relationship with one another, a rapport. It’s a stressful environment, so we’ve got to know one another,” Virgil said.
“My goal on that first day is getting to know people…then we’ll grow into the bigger things. It’s the smaller tasks and the bigger things, one step at a time.”