Crisp Co. grieves for sheriff - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Crisp Co. grieves for sheriff

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Interim Sheriff Col. Billy Hancock Interim Sheriff Col. Billy Hancock
CORDELE, GA (WALB) -

Hearts are heavy in Cordele and Crisp County, as people remember Sheriff Donnie Haralson, who will be remembered as a family man who worked hard to serve his community and is leaving behind a lasting legacy.

"I really think more than anything he's going to be remembered for how he just touched peoples' lives. Somebody could be in need of whatever and he was willing to be there for them," said Reverend John Smith.     

To folks in the community, Sheriff Haralson wasn't just an elected official, he was a friend known for putting others first.  

"I always teasingly called him the high sheriff, but I did. I had him on a pedestal.  And a lot of people did. And he will never be forgotten. There have been sheriffs and there will be other sheriffs, but there will be another one like him," said Monica Simmons.  

"He's had a tremendous impact on this area. With all the schools and law enforcement and he's just an all around great person.  Everybody else I think came first after his family and his God," said Renee Fraser.    

Sheriff Haralson was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2004, but was determined to fight it and he did for nearly 10 years. "He fought that cancer battle just like he fought life. He stood up and he took it head on and he was willing to go to treatment centers and take experimental treatment not knowing if he was getting a placebo or if he was getting the real drug, so that others might live and they may one day find a cure," said Col. Billy Hancock.    

The cancer eventually spread to his brain.   But Haralson continued to serve as sheriff, always putting his community first.   "He's a hero to people around here.  And he has earned that title.  A lot of people you don't want to put that title on, but he has legitimately earned it," said Chief William Hooper.

And while it will be a long healing process for his family and the entire community, some say it's a little easier knowing he's in a better place.     "This is something we're all just going to have to work through and it's going to take some time. But we know where he is, we believe he's in heaven, we believe he's happier and much better,"  said Rev Smith.  

The funeral is Friday afternoon at 4:00 at Cordele First Baptist Church. The burial will follow at Sunnyside Cemetery. 

Chief Deputy Billy Hancock will serve as interim Sheriff.  Under Georgia law once the courts swears that officer in a special election will be held to fill the position.  Hancock did not want to discuss this today, saying now is a time to mourn the loss of Sheriff Haralson and remember what he has done for the community.

 

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