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Jernigan’s service honored

GATESVILLE – “I think the citizens know me well enough by now to understand that I have no special agenda; I just want to do what is right for Gates County and all of its citizens. I ask for your support as we continue to make this county a better place to live.”

Those words from Gates County Commissioner Kenneth “Kenny” Jernigan were recorded and printed in April of 2010 during a political forum held in the county courtroom.

Kenny Jernigan

Kenny Jernigan

If the truth be told, Jernigan’s comments on that particular evening could have been spoken at any time during his eight years as the Commissioner representing the Reynoldson Township on the five-member board.

That tenure ended last week as Jernigan sat for the last time behind the Commissioners’ table after opting earlier this year not to seek a third term on the board.

At his final meeting (held Nov. 17), Jernigan was presented a plaque for his eight years of service to the county as an elected leader.

“I want to thank everyone that has supported me for the last eight years,” said Jernigan, who served several years as Vice Chairman of the board. “I know some of you did not agree with the way the votes went (on issues before the board) but I feel I voted for some good things for our county. I certainly hope that the commissioners continue to do great things for Gates County. I feel our new commissioner (Ray Freeman) will do great things. He loves this county, just as I do, and wants to see great things happen for this county.”

Jernigan’s colleagues at the Commissioners table voiced their appreciation to the board’s “senior” member.

“It’s been a pleasure serving with you. We plan to carry on the legacy you established. We appreciate your service,” said current Board chairman Henry Jordan.

“I have enjoyed serving with Kenny,” stated current Vice Chairman Jack Owens. “I have appreciated the insight he has brought to this board. He knows the history of this county and has shared that as we discussed many issues that we have dealt with over the years. We will miss you. Your replacement has some big shoes to fill.”

“I too have enjoyed working with Kenny over the last two years,” remarked Linda Hofler. “As you may noticed, he is a man of few words, but there are succinct and to the point, and I appreciate that. I expect to see him out there in the audience (at our meetings) keeping an eye on us.”

“I remember a story Kenny told about when he moved here some 30 years ago that he had only planned to stay for a little while and move on. Well I guess he got stuck here and looked what happened….he served this county well,” noted Billy Felton.

Jernigan moved to Gates County in 1973 where he accepted a job as Transportation Director with the Gates County Public School system. He held that job until his retirement in 2006, at which time he was elected as a commissioner. He won reelection in 2010.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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