Photo by Bobbie Poynter
KSP Post 10 Captain Phillip Burnett presents Sheriff John Pickard with a plaque in recognition of the sheriff’s service to Knox County and support of KSP Post 10.
Everyone in Knox County who has ever known Sheriff John Pickard has described him as a man of few words, and Tuesday was no exception.
When Sheriff John Pickard heard he was having a ‘surprise’ birthday party at the Forcht Bank in Barbourville, he was counting on a few friends and family members and a potluck lunch. What the sheriff did not expect was to walk into a room full of his own deputies, Barbourville City police officers, detectives, state troopers, city and county officials and several prominent members of the Knox County Community, all waiting to shake his hand.
Sheriff Pickard was, in fact, being presented with a plaque from Kentucky State Police Post 10 in recognition of his service to Knox County and his continuous support of Post 10 and its troopers.
KSP Detective Jason York began the presentation by personally thanking the sheriff for his service and for keeping his positive attitude over the years.
“Knox County has no idea what they’re losing,” said York. “Sheriff Pickard always finished what he started.”
KSP Post 10 Captain Phillip Burnett said the troopers could always count on Sheriff Pickard, no matter when, where, or what the weather.
“There’s not too many sheriffs who would be out there at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning,” said Burnett. “Sheriff Pickard would be out with us in knee-deep mud, if that’s what it took to find someone.”
Knox County Judge-Executive J.M. Hall applauded the sheriff on his ability to run his department with whatever budget he was given.
“John would always make it work,” said Hall. “Sometimes he would come and ask for money and we could help him and sometimes we couldn’t help him. But, even without the money, John still got the job done.”
As the Judge-Executive reached out to shake the sheriff’s hand, he added that Pickard has done a great job for the county and he will be missed.
Retired Barbourville Police Chief Mike Broughton expressed his appreciation for how well his and Sheriff Pickard’s departments have been able to work together over the years and described Pickard as a man of honor and integrity.
Salt Gum Baptist Church Pastor Kennon Roark spoke highly of the sheriff’s faith and of his unwavering support of the church.
“There’s nothing that we’ve ever done at our church that what this man wasn’t there to support his pastor,” Pastor Roark said of his friend and long-time church member. “When some of my deacons wouldn’t even be there, this man would be there. That tells me a lot about him. And I believe he’s one of the best sheriffs we’ve ever had in this county.”
On behalf of Forcht Bank, Quintin Young thanked the sheriff for his dedication and hard work over the years.
“When you’re dealing with a bank, you’ve got to be protected,” said Young,” and as he, too, shook the sheriff’s hand, he added, “We appreciate your always being there for us when we needed you.”
Tina Collins of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services thanked the sheriff and his staff for their support over the years.
“We call them in the middle of the night, they’re ready to meet us,” she said. “And we just want to thank you,” as she hugged the sheriff.
Libby Pickard did her best to hold her composure as she thanked the community, particularly those present, for believing in her husband and supporting their family.
“We’ve always tried to do what’s best and what’s right,” she said. “We’ve worked with a lot of great people, and we’ve been blessed to have such good law enforcement people around us. We’re very blessed to live here in Knox County.”
“Twelve years ago I was not good at making speeches, and I ain’t no better today,” said Sheriff Pickard, after accepting a plaque from KSP. “But, I do appreciate this, I do appreciate everybody here. I’ve learned a lot over the years, especially from the state troopers. I’ve always done the best I could and helped everybody I could. And I thank every one of you for being here.”
Later, after the formal presentation, Sheriff Pickard said, “I want to especially thank my chief deputy, Derek Eubanks, for sticking with me over the years. My deputies and I have always worked very well together and have gotten a lot accomplished. I never would have gotten so much done without them.
“I may not have finished everything I needed to do, but this has been a life-long dream of mine, and I accomplished everything I wanted to do.”