Richmond Hill Mayor Russ Carpenter called council’s newly created “Friend of the City Award” a way to recognize those who’ve contributed much to the city and its residents.
During a short meeting Tuesday night, Carpenter presented the first such award to Bryan County Sheriff ’s Office Maj. David Blige, a native of Richmond Hill and 33-year member of BCSO.
Carpenter said the honor will “show appreciation to those who have made exemplary contributions to our community and increase awareness of importance of community involvement in the greater Richmond Hill area.” He said Blige’s “tireless commitment protecting our residents is exemplary. His outreach with our community is legendary,” and “Maj. David Blige is a friend to all who call Richmond Hill their home.” Blige said the award “really means a lot to me. I’m just proud they thought enough to do that for me. I love Richmond Hill, love the people in the community and I love working with the city and the county.”
Blige, 68, currently commands BCSO’s patrol and traffic enforcement efforts, and his work on some major drug busts during his career helped fund the 911 center, for example.
He said he started as a deputy at roughly the same time former Richmond Hill Police Chief Billy Reynolds was a patrolman. Reynolds is now the county’s probate judge while Blige said he’s working for his sixth sheriff.
He’ll stick around a while longer, he said.
“I’ll probably do this term with the new sheriff, four more years will put me at 71 and so I’m probably out the door then,” he said. That new sheriff, Mark Crowe, was on hand Tuesday to speak about Blige. He called the longtime deputy a “humble man and a friend,” and used scripture to illustrate Blige’s sense of duty and willingness to sacrifice for the community.
“He has been a faithful servant to the people of Bryan County and Richmond Hill,” Crowe said.
“And you can’t go anywhere in the state of Georgia that somebody doesn’t know David Blige. It can’t be done. There are few people in the world today that are like him. When he tells you something, that’s his bond. That’s his word and he will hold himself to it, or he will die trying.”
City council also honored the Richmond Hill High School wrestling team, which won the 2021 state wrestling title in Class AAAAAA.
Council approved the appointment of Chris Raiford, a commercial loan officer with Ameris Bank, as a planning commissioner.
Before council went into session to discuss legal matters, Carpenter announced the city will host its annual Memorial Day observance on May 31 at J.F. Gregory Park as usual and an Independence Day celebration on July 3 with the Swinging Medallions as “the city starts to move back to some normalcy.”
City Hall’s administrative offices reopen May 17, City Clerk Dawnne Greene said.