By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • Just a few days after his 43rd birthday, Hoke County Sheriff Roderick Virgil raised his right hand and took the oath during a ceremony that marked the start of his first full four-year term in office.
The service held Monday at the Mt. Pisgah Community Resource Center saw Virgil and his staff sworn in by Clerk of Superior Court Evelyn McLeod to continue serving the citizens of Hoke County.
“We’re going to continue to protect Hoke County…we’re going to do our jobs,” Virgil said. “Words can’t express how much I appreciate you guys.”
Virgil turned attention to all the employees at the detention center and sheriff’s office.
“Let’s give my staff a round of applause,” he said, drawing claps from the audience. “…I appreciate you guys having my back 100 percent. The next four years we’re going to be continue to move as strong as we’ve been moving.”
In his remarks Virgil offered thanks to God, his supporters, and his family.
“I also realize that without my parents none of this would be possible,” he said in comments.
Virgil took a moment to specially recognize Chief Deputy David Newton, who celebrated his own birthday Monday, by asking the assembly to sing him ‘happy birthday.’
The sheriff also addressed the crowd to say that he welcomes input from the community.
“I’m a human being, I make errors too…just because you’re a citizen doesn’t mean you can’t put me in my place if you see we’re going down a wrong road or a wrong path. Because we’re all human beings and I’m open to that,” Virgil said.
“As long as it’s tasteful!” he added, and joked, “Or we gotta take you down to the motel.”
Puppy Creek Fire Department Chief John Joseph offered some words of wisdom. Joseph recalled a moment from early in his own career in law enforcement when an officer told him to transport a woman and her cat to the veterinarian.
“Why would I be taking a lady and her cat to the vet?” Joseph remembered thinking at the time. The more experienced officer explained to him why it mattered, he said.
“He told me that in my career, one thing to always remember, this is what he told me … this cat is all this lady has. And I remember that and I have thought about that all throughout my career,” Joseph said.
“Sometimes we can’t see the hurt in other people, and I remember so well that lady. And I helped her with her cat, she never forgot it. Things you think in life are frivolous are very important to other people, just keep that in mind.”
The late Sheriff Dr. Hubert Peterkin’s son, Antonio Peterkin, and former sheriff’s office and emergency management director Freddy Johnson were among the special guests invited for the ceremony. Other elected officials and family members of the sheriff’s office and jail staff also attended. Papa’s Place provided catering for a luncheon following the service.