Curry County Sheriff’s Sgt. Joel Hensley and road department employee Gary Carter for awarded 20- and 5-year certificates of appreciation for their work and longevity with the county.

“Gary responds to calls at all hours of the night,” Roadmaster Rich Christensen told county commissioners in their regular meeting Wednesday. “He’s the first to arrive on site. He’s a big part of our team.”

Sheriff John Ward said Hensley started as a corrections deputy, then moved to patrol, was promoted to lieutenant, then jail commander and sergeant in his 20 years with the county.

“I couldn’t be more proud to call him sergeant — and my friend,” Ward said.

Most recently, Hensley has been working with Brookings, Portland State University and the county to determine the feasibility of consolidating the city’s and county’s separate 911 systems, and is addressing the problems of the county’s communication towers outdated equipment.

“I want to thank you for taking a risk on a 23-year-old in 1998,” Hensley told the board. “There’s a lot of energy going on in Curry County right now.”

He also acknowledged his wife, Katie.

“Without her, I would have less hair, need more blood pressure medicines and I couldn’t do this job,” he said. “Law enforcement is an enigma. She’s stood by me the entire time.”

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