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Liberty loses trusted sheriff
Courier editorial
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Former Hinesville City Councilman Alonzo Walden once said he decided who got his vote for sheriff based on trust.
That’s what made Liberty County Sheriff J. Don Martin a good sheriff. People felt they could trust him. Martin, who served as the county’s top law enforcement officer for the past 18 years, died Thursday in his Sunbury home.
He was severely injured in a wreck in Midway in December and had struggled since with the injuries. Most recently he had developed sepsis and the resulting infections proved more than he could withstand.
Martin, a native of Liberty County, spent a lifetime developing a wide group of friends from every community here. His work with the post office and his volunteer efforts with youth sports gave him the chance to get to know many local residents. Even though he had no formal background in law enforcement, Martin had deep experience in building and keeping trust.
Once elected, he earned a reputation for choosing strong staff and helping them succeed. Several major criminal cases including the drug-related multiple murders in Walthourville were solved quickly under Sheriff Martin’s guidance.  
He was known to keep his door open to all, not just those who might be considered powerful or influential. Go to any part of Liberty County, and you’ll quickly find people who can tell a story about how Sheriff Martin came to their aid.
In Liberty County, the office of sheriff is widely respected. It’s an honored position. Sheriff Martin not only kept the trust, he made all parts of the community feel respected and honored. He will be missed. 
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