News 12 at 6 o'clock, Tuesday, November 13, 2012
AUGUSTA,Ga -- Leaders from across the state traveled to Augusta to say goodbye to former Richmond County sheriff Charles Webster.
"He did more for Richmond County for the citizens than anybody I know in my lifetime." said Superior Court Judge Danny Craig. "This is an opportunity on behalf of the community to say goodbye to probably the most significant public servant that we have see in the last century in Richmond County."
The 80-year old's graveside service took place this morning at Westover Memorial Park. Webster died over the weekend after a short battle with liver cancer.
"I was deeply saddened. It came on so quickly, and it was sort of a surprise and a shock to me." said mayor Deke Copenhaver. He was one of those people that you thought he was going to go on forever. He has a lasting legacy that will be honored for generations to come."
Officers from across the state stood at attention as the American flag waved in the wind. It was a moving farewell to Augusta's former sheriff Charlie Webster.
"I don't know anybody that didn't love him." said sheriff Ronnie Strength. "We are going to miss him."
Like so many in attendance, pallbearer and outgoing Sheriff Strength fought back tears reflecting on the life of his mentor.
"He means everything in the world to me. He told everybody that he raised me from a pup...that I was his son," recalled Strength. "And he treated me that way. I miss him a lot."
From the mayor to U.S. Attorney Ed Tarver, a who's who list of dignitaries, family and friends gathered to pay to their respects at the graveside service.
"I had to do it." said Attorney Tarver. "I couldn't be any place else."
Sheriff Webster was one who received his flowers of appreciation in life and death with the Charles B. Webster Detention Center standing as a permanent reminder of the man and his mission.
"His imprint is going to be on the sheriff's department." said incoming sheriff Richard Roundtree. "Hopefully in my tenure as sheriff I'm as well liked and well loved as he was."
Many still can't believe he's gone.
"I know he is in a better place." said Strength. He told me in the hospital. He says I'm ready son. That was comfort to me."
The challenge now is to carry on in a way that would make Sheriff Webster proud.
Webster's wife, Frances, passed away in 2010.
The family is asking, in lieu of flowers, that contributions may be made to the Wounded Warriors, c/o Community Foundation for the CSRA, P.O. Box 31358, Augusta, GA 30903 or to The Golden Harvest Food Bank, 3310 Commerce Dr., Augusta, GA 30909.