The Covington News - - Lo­cal news -

“ I ap­pre­ci­ated the time you have let me be with you,” Ni­chols said to the crowd. “ I’ve stood in front of you for a long time and I ap­pre­ci­ate each one of you, but there are peo­ple who have sac­ri­ficed more than I have.

“ God gave me the best wife and four great chil­dren.”

Ni­chols then asked his fam­ily to join him on the podium and then stepped away, ask­ing the au­di­ence to ap­plaud them for stand­ing be­side him for so many years. Af­ter the ap­plause died down he ap­proached the lectern and sim­ply stated, “ I’m through.”

Mitchell pre­sented Ni­chols with a spe­cial mem­o­ra­bilia box in­clud­ing his ser­vice weapon, which was en­graved with the dates he worked for the NCSO. He then showed the au­di­ence a ren­der­ing of a street sign read­ing Joe Ni­chols Blvd., which will mark the drive­way to the New­ton County Sher­iff’s Of­fice.

Mitchell then opened up the floor to com­ments from the crowd.

“ The men and women that you leave be­hind will carry a piece of you in their souls each and ev­ery day,” said NCSO Cpl. Sammy Banks.

“ We’ve been through some tough times to­gether and some good times to­gether,” said re­tir­ing New­ton County Coro­ner Bob Wheeler, “ but the mem­o­ries will last a life­time.”

Sev­eral others shared funny sto­ries about Ni­chols or about how he helped them through hard times. Sher­if­f­elect Brown was the last to speak.

“ My friend, noth­ing could have pre­pared me for this mo­ment,” Brown said.“ We’re go­ing to miss you, but I know this is not re­tire­ment, this is just the be­gin­ning of a new ca­reer for you.”

Jen­nifer T. Long/The Cov­ing­ton News

Sher­iff Joe Ni­chols, right, ac­cepts a mem­o­ra­bilia box from NCSO Lt. Mark Mitchell dur­ing his re­tire­ment party Fri­day evening at the his­toric New­ton County Court­house.

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