It was supposed to be a retirement reception for Floyd County Sheriff Tim Burkhalter and his chief deputy, Tommy McGuire, on Friday. Instead, it became something of a roast.
Staged in the ballroom at The Forum, featuring ample social distancing and most all in masks, guests were invited to stop in to see both men who are retiring after decades of service to the county. For Burkhalter, that meant not running for sheriff after four terms. He’ll remain in Rome/Floyd County, active in local business.
As for the roast: Several of Burkhalter’s colleagues make sure to tell a memory or perhaps embarrassing story about Burkhalter. Among them was Gilmer County Sheriff Stacy Nicholson, who told of a gag Burkhalter played on him after he had been asked to deliver some fresh Ellijay apple cider to a hotel where both men were staying for a conference. The person answering the door at room 207 was anyone but Burkhalter — and, said Nicholson, was wearing only his shoes.
Also attending were Burkhalter’s wife, Stephanie, and his mother, Sarah, as well as the community’s next sheriff, Dave Roberson. Also on hand: Chief Magistrate Gene Richardson as well as other city and county leaders.
McGuire, who had planned to retire in 2018, instead took over as chief deputy and will leave with more than 43 years of service. Burkhalter will leave office in late December with 36 years of service.