LaGRANGE — For the first time in almost 40 years, Willis Grizzard woke up Monday morning without the worry or anticipation of what the work week would bring him.
Grizzard officially retired as a deputy with the Troup County Sheriff’s Office on Friday. Sheriff James Woodruff, colleagues and Grizzard’s family sent him off in style with a luncheon and special gift that memorialized his years of service.
The former deputy spent 30 years with the sheriff’s office and nine years as an investigator with the Troup County District Attorney’s office.
He started at TCSO in 1977; then returned in 1993. At one time he served as the chief investigator for the department before joining the transport division, picking up and dropping off inmates.
“It’s been a long journey,” Grizzard said. “I’ve seen a lot of people come and go.”
“He’s been a very important part of the sheriff’s office,” said Woodruff. “We hate to see him go.”
Grizzard is one third of the first set of triplets born in Troup County. One of his brothers, William, also joined the Troup County Sheriff’s Office and was chief of the narcotics division. He retired from the department in late 2014.
Though Grizzard will not have to report for duty at the sheriff’s office any longer, he said he has no plans of slowing down.
“I’m going to get up early in the morning, drink some coffee and do my ‘honey-do’ list,” he said with a laugh. “I also have a horse shoeing business, so I’ll be busy with that. Plus go hunting.”
Woodruff said the former deputy will be hard to replace.
“A person is only as good as the people he surrounds himself with,” Woodruff said. “Willis has taught me a lot. I’ve been privileged to work with a lot of people, and he’s one of them.”
Grizzard also admitted it will be hard not seeing his fellow deputies on a daily basis.
“They’re like family,” he said. “You’ve got your real family but you come here (the sheriff’s office) everyday. People here are like your family too. You may fuss at them every once in a while, but they’re still your family.”
Melanie Ruberti is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. She can be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2156.