The Johnson County Commissioners Court honored a long-time dispatch supervisor for the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and proclaimed Aug. 7 as Johnson County Purple Heart Medal Recipient’s Day during their Monday meeting.
County Judge Roger Harmon, noting that the Purple Heart Medal — established by George Washington in 1782 — is the oldest military decoration still in use, proclaimed Aug. 7 as Johnson County Purple Heart Medal Recipients Day of Honor.
“There are over 14,000 veterans in Johnson County many of whom are Purple Heart recipients,” Harmon said.
Harmon encouraged residents to display purple ribbons and decorations on that day to honor those recipients.
Members of Cleburne’s American Legion Post 50, Military Order of the Purple Heart Burleson Chapter, Johnson County Veterans Services and Allmon-Burgess Memorial Post 12152 stood with commissioners as Harmon delivered the proclamation.
Harmon said that, despite protests and counter protests in recent months, he believes that America remains strong and that Johnson County is largely united overall.
Commissioner Rick Bailey said schools are failing students when it comes to teaching history and that youth are being brainwashed by fake news.
“When you look for ways to combat that we’ve got to get our military presence, our veterans maybe, into schools to do programs and teach these kids,” Bailey said.
Military Order of the Purple Heart Burleson Chapter member Lorin Storey called upon commissioners for help.
“Johnson County is a Purple Heart county,” Storey said. “I wondered if we could get some kind of signage up on Interstate 35-W and places like that to designate that?”
Storey said that most cities in the county have such signs and it would be fitting for the county to as well.
A great idea, all on the court agreed, but also one that involves state agencies and paperwork.
“If it was just up to us it would be a unanimous vote today of let’s do it,” Bailey said.
But, Bailey and the other commissioners added, Storey’s suggestion is certainly worthwhile and can be done.
“There may be some paperwork to get through but we’re all for it,” Commissioner Kenny Howell said.
Sheriff Adam King joined Harmon and the four commissioners to present a plaque to JCSO Dispatch Supervisor Keysha Hill commemorating her retirement after 20 years of service to the county.
King, as he has in the past, commented upon the rigors of working dispatch.
“It’s very difficult,” King said. “The hardest job in law enforcement. It’s a pressure cooker job, very stressful and the fact that someone could do it for 20 years, let alone as a supervisor, amazes me.”
Commissioner Jerry Stringer, himself a former police officer, agreed.
“The sheriff nailed it on the head when he described that job as difficult,” Stringer said. “I had the honor of doing that for a year when I first started in law enforcement. I wouldn’t do it again. I just wouldn’t.
“But I will say that we as commissioners get calls from them often in the middle of the night on pretty much everything from flooding conditions to everything else. It amazes me how they can stay on top of everything they’re having to handle while getting everything done correctly and always have a pleasant voice while they’re doing it. I don’t know how they do it. My hat’s off to them.”
Harmon spoke of the values of experience and strong work ethic.
“We always hate to lose an employee who has been around as long as you and has been as dedicated as you have in your job,” Harmon told Hill. “You have a tough job and what you’ve done for not only the people of Johnson County but everyone you’ve talked to over the years made a difference. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your service.”
Called upon in jest to deliver a 20-minute speech, Hill kept her remarks short and sweet.
“I’ve enjoyed working for the county.” Hill said. “It’s given me a lot of opportunities and I’ve learned a lot that I probably wouldn’t have learned otherwise.”