A section of Interstate 95 from the Midway interchange south to McIntosh County has been named in honor of former Liberty County Sheriff Bobby Sikes, the son of a sheriff and the father of a sheriff.
More than 75 officials, dignitaries, relatives, friends and other community members gathered Saturday at exit 76 to honor Sikes for his contributions to the community, including a law-enforcement career spanning five decades.
State Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway, who introduced the House resolution authorizing the highway naming, served as master of ceremonies. Williams recounted his memories of the Sikes family, as did many other speakers. The representative said he believes Bobby Sikes was the youngest sheriff ever elected in Georgia when he was chosen to succeed his father, Sheriff Paul E. Sikes, who died in 1959.
Paul Sikes was sheriff from 1936 until his death. His son, Bobby, became sheriff then and served until 1992 with a single, one-term break. Bobby’s son, Steve Sikes, continued the family tradition when he won a special election and was sworn in as sheriff in December 2010.
“I’ve never really had a feeling like that in my life, but it was a good feeling — made butterflies come up,” Bobby Sikes said. “It was a great feeling. Quite an honor to see my name on the board over the highway.”
His sons, Steve, Clay and Gill, unveiled one of the signs that already are posted along I-95.
“He’s been a great friend. He’s been a great Liberty Countian, and I thought he deserved to have something while he was alive and he could enjoy it,” Williams said.
First Congressional District State Transportation Board Member Ann R. Purcell said she was glad to help arrange the designation.
“Mr. Bobby was a gentleman and still is a man of his word,” Purcell said. “Integrity is at the high quality of what he has always represented, so it was quite a treat to be able to be a small part of honoring him today.”
As it happened, Saturday’s ceremony coincided with the 67th wedding anniversary of Bobby Sikes and his wife, Lynn.
“The thing that has always impressed me with Bobby, ever since we were married, is his integrity. He really has honor and integrity. I loved that. He had to have that to be sheriff as far as I was concerned,” Lynn Sikes said.
During the celebration, Sikes’ numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren led the Pledge of Allegiance.