Feb. 28 is Sheriff Thomas Brown Day
DeKalb County Sheriff Thomas Brown said his farewells to the DeKalb Board of Commissioners, who lauded and thanked him for his long-time service with the county as he prepared for a new course. Brown is running for Congressman in the race with incumbent Hank Johnson and plans to make his bid official during the March 3-7 qualifying period.
Brown attended the county sendoff with relatives and what he called his "extended family," which included several of the men and women from his office.
"My whole career has been all about just being a public servant. I've always served in some capacity to make things better," said Brown, who grew emotional as he talked about going to work for the county under then CEO Manuel Maloof.
Interim DeKalb CEO Lee May called Brown a mentor and a stabilizing force in the county. He said Brown's departure was "bittersweet."
"I just want to thank you for your leadership and doing what you believe God has called you to do," May said.
Larry Johnson, presiding officer of the Board of Commissioners, applauded Sheriff Brown for always contributing to the betterment of the county.
"He has been a great public servant who has done so much. He has truly given his heart. We will miss him," said Johnson.
Stan Watson, deputy presiding officer, recalled working with Brown on his first election campaign, and credited him with doing a great job during his tenure.
"I think I even held the Bible for you when you were sworn in," Watson said. "You came to DeKalb County at a time when we were facing tragedy in our Sheriff's department."
Brown served 13 years as Sheriff, taking over after Sherif-Elect Derwin Brown was assassinated just days before Derwin Brown, who was unrelated, was to be sworn into office.
Commissioner Sharon Sutton Barnes said she appreciated Brown's fairness and honesty, which goes a long way.
Commissioner Kathie Ganon said Brown's name would be synonymous with DeKalb for years to come.
Commissioner Jeff Rader said he believed that Sheriff Brown is perceived to be the most credible elected official in DeKalb.
"It is going to be big shoes for any successor to fill," Rader said.
Commissioner Elaine Boyer fought back tears as she bid Brown farewell.
"He has taken calamity and made it calm," Boyer said. "It It's a great loss to us here in DeKalb County, but we know he'll still be in our future, and it is with regret that I see you go."