Hundreds attend graveside service for Sheriff Donnie Haralson - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Hundreds attend graveside service for Crisp Co. Sheriff Donnie Haralson

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CORDELE, GA (WALB) -

The sun broke through the clouds at the end of Friday evening's graveside service at Sunnyside Cemetery, shining light on the mourners grieving over the loss of a beloved Sheriff.

Hundreds of relatives, friends, and fellow law enforcement officers said goodbye to Crisp County Sheriff Donnie Haralson, one of the longest serving and most respected sheriffs in South Georgia.

He was buried following a funeral and graveside service, after losing a long battle to cancer Tuesday night.

"He was a good Sheriff, but he was also someone that he respected and loved," said Marsha Mitchell. "Just a great guy. I known him all my life and always thought a lot of him, so it's a really sad day."

Law enforcers came from across Georgia and other states to pay tribute to a man who faithfully served the citizens of Crisp County for 37 years, 26 of them as Sheriff.

"I thought it was such a tribute because so many people came and just loved him and so many people couldn't come and had come to the visitation earlier," said Mitchell. "I don't know if I've ever seen anything so touching."

A standing room only crowd attended the funeral at First Baptist Church, where Haralson was member. He was remembered as a great friend and a person who gave his all to those in need. Haralson was honored by his peers as Georgia's Sheriff of the Year in 2010.

"We've lost such a good comrade, who fought a long hard battle and he's gonna be missed," said Lee County Sheriff Reggie Rachals.

"Sheriff Haralson has been my mentor since 2005. Everybody in this state looked up to him as being a leader," recalled Ben Hill County Sheriff Bobby McLemore.

After the funeral service, Sheriff Haralson was escorted by members of the Sheriffs Association to his final resting place.

The long motorcade made the short trip from the church to the cemetery. Bagpipes played at the graveside service, followed by a helicopter flyover.

The service ended with a final radio call for Sheriff Haralson.

"Sheriff Donnie Haralson is 10-7 and 10-42." the call solemnly stated, signifying his tour of duty had come to an end.

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