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Martin's wife Polly appointed sheriff
J.Don Martin laid to rest Sunday
Liberty County Sheriff’s Office deputies line a walkway at Liberty County High School as funeral officiant the Rev. Doug Walker and several pallbearers bring Sheriff J. Don Martin’s casket into the gym. - photo by Photo by Lewis Levine
Liberty County Probate Judge Nancy K. Aspinwall on Tuesday appointed former Sheriff Don Martin’s widow, Polly E. Martin, to serve as interim sheriff until November’s special election.
“Pursuant to Georgia law, the judge of the probate court, Nancy K. Aspinwall, has today appointed Polly E. Martin, widow of Sheriff J.  Don Martin, to serve as Sheriff of Liberty County, Ga., until his successor is determined at a special election to be conducted in conjunction with the statewide general election on Nov. 2, 2010,” the statement released by Aspinwall’s office read. “The probate judge thanks Mrs. Martin for her willingness to serve during this difficult time, and is confident in her ability to ably discharge
the duties of sheriff of Liberty County, Ga. Additionally, the coroner of Liberty County, Mr. Reginald Pierce Sr., and the Chief Deputy of Liberty County, Keith Moran, are thanked for their selfless assistance and cooperation during this period of transition.”
Until Polly Martin is sworn in, Pierce will act as sheriff as directed in the court’s order confirming the interim appointment.
The order reads, “That until the above-named appointee has posted the requisite bond and sworn the oath of office of sheriff of Liberty County, Ga., (as confirmed by this court), that Reginald L. Pierce Sr., as the duly elected coroner of Liberty County, Ga., shall continue to act as sheriff of said county.”
Liberty County Chief Deputy Keith Moran is pleased with Aspinwall’s selection.
“I respect the decision of the probate court,” Moran said of the appointment. “And as the chief deputy of the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, I look forward to working with Sheriff Polly Martin.”
Martin’s swearing in ceremony hasn’t been finalized, but it’s expected to be held sometime next week. The Courier will bring you the information once it becomes available.

The funeral

Several moments of levity punctuated an otherwise somber event Sunday as mourners from around the region gathered to pay their last respects to Sheriff Martin. Community members and law enforcement officers packed Liberty County High School’s gym to capacity for the sheriff’s funeral.
The funeral procession extended for miles as squad cars made their way from Carter Funeral Home Oglethorpe Chapel to the high school. Two fire department ladder trucks held up an American flag, designating a path for the funeral car and the vehicles carrying Martin’s surviving family members.
W.L. Hall, a friend of the sheriff, recalled childhood memories of Martin and friends Gerald Deloach, Ed Haymans and Ronnie Waller. He talked about how they used to wrestle like the professionals they watched on television.
Martin’s younger brother, George, shared stories about the sheriff’s early days as a church usher boy and Martin’s love of ice cream.
Moran spoke of Martin’s love for his community. He said the four-term sheriff loved to ride around with deputies on patrol and always maintained an open-door policy.
Throughout his career, Moran said, Martin spent countless hours working murder cases and searching for missing juveniles.
“He was a man who loved to talk, he laughed out loud, prayed over his meals and he truly cared about people,” Moran said.
Martin Don - Public Statement and Order
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