George County pays tribute to Sheriff Garry Welford - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

George County pays tribute to Sheriff Garry Welford

LUCEDALE, MS (WLOX) -

By Patrice Clark – bio | email

LUCEDALE, MS (WLOX) - Family, friends and fellow law enforcers came to say goodbye to Sheriff Garry Welford, a man they loved and respected.  So many came to Shady Grove Baptist church, the small sanctuary overflowed. 

"Thank you for blessing this community, thank you for blessing the church family, thank you for blessing the Welford family with his leadership," Rev. Bruce McKenzie said. 

Those who admired Garry Welford's leadership as sheriff stood outside in the baking sun to pay their respects. 

"He had the entire welfare of the county at heart at all times. And he did all he can to support and protect the citizens here in George County," citizen Shirley Phillips said. 

Pascagoula Police Officer Doug Adams knew Sheriff Welford from joint investigations. He was one of more than a thousand officers, deputies and investigators who lined up in tribute. 

"Most of people you see here never met the sheriff. It doesn't matter," Adams said. 

For those who did know the sheriff, the sense of loss is overwhelming. 

"It has been a numb feeling since it happened; Garry Welford was a good friend and a great public servant," District Attorney Tony Lawrence said. 

As sheriff for six and a half years, Garry Welford earned a reputation as a tough, but compassionate crime fighter who wanted to clear his community of drugs and keep citizens safe. As the service came to a close, the preacher reminded everyone this veteran law man was a family man and a man of deep faith. 

"One of the things we can do to honor his memory and legacy is when we are faced with difficult circumstance and we wonder what to do, we might ask what would Garry Welford do in these circumstances and that is not bad advice," the pastor told the crowd. 

Welford also served in the Navy and as a game warden for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.  He leaves behind a wife and three children. 

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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