Bladenboro has not only seen loss of homes and businesses, but has also suffered loss of Town personnel. Cherished Chief of Police, Chris Hunt retired Friday, September 28 after 23 years of service. John O’ Daniel, Town Administrator served his last day on September 10th.
Just days before Hurricane Florence hit the small town, O’Daniel’s served his last day as the Town Administrator. Bladenboro Mayor Rufus Duckworth did not give any details into where O’Daniels left to serve, but did say the town is searching for a replacement for the position.
“We want a go-getter,” Duckworth said in reference to the type of person he would like to see fill the role of Town Administrator.
Duckworth reported, Melanie Hester is helping with responsibility of the position until a replacement is hired. O’Daniel was hired in October of 2015 and replaced Hester as Town Administrator.
Bladenboro Police Chief, Chris Hunt’s first day of retirement officially started on Monday, October 1. His friendly face and helpful attitude will be missed by many.
“It’s both happy and sad at the same time,” said Chief Hunt of his retirement.
His law enforcement career began with the Bladenboro Police Department, he left the department and worked with the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office briefly. Then returned to the Bladenboro Police Department. Hunt was named Chief of Police on January 1, 2010.
Hunt said he will miss law enforcement.
“What I’m going to miss the most about law enforcement is the people I worked with,” said Hunt. “We looked out for each other, and we helped one another.”
Hunt also said he will miss the citizens he served during his career.
“I enjoyed serving the citizens of Bladenboro. I made a lot of friends over the years. One of the greatest things you can have to happen is when a citizen comes up to you and thanks you,” said Hunt.
Hunt served with compassion and dedication without the need for recognition. Lt. Kevin Rouse served with Hunt for over 14 years.
“He was very professional. He was outstanding,” Rouse said. “He was all about serving the people and the business.”
Rouse raved about Hunt’s leadership and humble personality.
The new Interm Chief of Police of Bladenboro, Randy Sykes, also spoke extremely highly of Hunt. “Some people like to be put on a pedestal, but he never did,” Sykes said about Hunt. He had a great style of leadership Sykes added.
Although Hunt is never one for hoopla, especially over himself, plans to honor Hunt for his outstanding service had to be postponed due to the storm, but are still in the works according to officals.