Thursday, July 21, 2011
A tribute to Chief
It had to be one of the most stunning messages I have ever received.
It came via a cell phone text Sunday, shortly after I had left our evening church service.
“I heard Chief Pearson was killed on his motorcycle an hour ago.”
I was driving my truck but had to pull over and stop. I lost all other thoughts. I was suddenly saddened.
“It can’t be,” I repeated in my mind.
But a few minutes later I made a telephone call and got it confirmed.
Just a few weeks ago The South Reporter announced Chief Pearson’s retirement as the city’s top cop. That retirement took effect June 30.
And just a few weeks later he was killed in the accident on Highway 4 between Holly Springs and Ashland.
As news spread Sunday night and Monday morning, shock was widespread through the community. We answered call after call at the newspaper office – people just wanting to confirm what they had heard.
Chief Pearson made a positive difference in Holly Springs. He did it his way, even though that didn’t always go along with the city’s elected leaders.
And in nearly five years on the job, he earned the community’s respect. He didn’t mince words. He told it like it was, and made lots of new friends in this community along the way.
Staff writer Sue Watson had an outstanding working relationship with Chief Pearson. It was built on trust. She wrote the excellent story on his retirement, and a few days later, he delivered flowers to Sue with a big “thank you.”
That type of kindness perhaps many did not see. But it also exemplified Chief Pearson.
Other’s thoughts on Chief Pearson started popping up on Facebook after his death.
Sen. Bill Stone wrote, “Prayers and condolences for the family of former Holly Springs Police Chief Robert Pearson. A great public servant and a great friend... he will be missed.”
Lisa Liddy, community volunteer and retired city employee, wrote, “I had just talked with Chief Pearson on Thursday and asked how he was enjoying retirement. He said that he had spent all his time at his church volunteering with the youth group. He was a good man.”
Holly Springs resident Lisa Shaw, another person involved in many community activities, wrote, “So sad to hear of his death. We worked together the last two years on Pilgrimage business and he helped us with blocking off streets and with our 5K. He was always a pleasure to talk with and a great help to me. Prayers going out to his family today.”
Sue also wrote the story back in October 2006 after Chief Pearson was hired to lead the city’s police force.
“A little 9-year-old boy dreamed of one day becoming a police officer. He grew up and became a law man and dreamed a bigger dream – to serve as chief of police. His dream came true last week.”
In that story, he said, “I consider this job a very responsible job and myself to be in the service of the people of Holly Springs. I think it’s quite a responsibility and I intend to do everything I can to do a good job.”
He wrote his own legacy in our small community from 2006-2011, and it was indeed a good one.
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