Hardy earns his place in history

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 23, 2004

WINTON – It was a proud man who stood before county and state dignitaries as well as a host of family and friends for the unveiling of a much-deserved portrait here Wednesday.

Winfred Hardy Jr., former sheriff of Hertford County, expressed his emotional thanks as Resident Superior Court Judge Cy Grant did the honors of unveiling the oil painting of Hardy that hangs in the courthouse along with other sheriffs who have served the county.

Grant, who served as master of ceremonies, told the audience he felt honored to be a part of the celebration because he started his service in law and was a part of the first election Hardy won in 1986 and was also present the day he retired.

Senator Robert Holloman was also on hand to extend a word of appreciation to the man who stood &uot;for the people&uot; and behind the badge for 35 years.

Hertford County Chairman DuPont Davis addressed the crowd, humorously threatening to tell the &uot;whole&uot; story of Hardy’s life and times.

But perhaps it was Hardy who gave the best speech, as he reflected upon his career as a law officer.

&uot;I went to work with the Ahoskie Police Department back in 1963, part time. I worked with them two years as a part time officer. But back then, they didn’t have but one car and all of us had to share that one car… and let me tell you, that car ran 24 hours a day, seven days a week non-stop. They had to finally get another car,&uot; he laughed.

&uot;When I look back at those days, I am reminded that all the folks I first started out with… they are all dead. I am the only one left out of all those folks that working in that department when I got started.

&uot;It’s like I told my wife, Elenia, I guess I’m the next one to go… I mean, I am the only one left,&uot; he said.

On a serious note, Hardy’s voice quivered slightly as he expressed his thanks to his family and friends for being their for what he called a &uot;special&uot; moment in his life.

&uot;It’s the folks out there like you that have stayed my friends all these years… that’s why I wanted to be sheriff. I love people and I’ve always wanted the best for people. This means a lot to me and to my family and for that I thank you,&uot; he said.

The portrait will remain in the lobby of the Hertford County Courthouse along with a bronze plaque beside three other former sheriffs that served the county over the years.

Hardy’s career began in 1963 with the Ahoskie Police Department where he received promotions to lieutenant and then to captain.

He was elected sheriff of Hertford County in 1986 and retired after 11 years in 1997.