Originally created 11/15/00

Sheriff helps out fund-raiser



Richmond County's outgoing sheriff didn't mind being the butt of jokes Tuesday night.

So long as it was for a good cause, he said.

"It's all in good fun," Sheriff Charlie Webster, 68, said of a roast sponsored by Girls Incorporated of the CSRA at Julian Smith Casino.

On a stage facing the crowded hall, some of his closest friends and colleagues dealt jabs as Sheriff Webster sat in a metal foldout chair.

"Some of it may not be true, but it's to help homeless girls," he said. "I'm glad to be a part of it."

Most of the jokes centered on the sheriff's antics during hunting and fishing trips, and his earlier career as a Georgia Department of Revenue agent assigned to bust moonshiners.

"Charlie, you're going to retire. What are you going to do?" former Commissioner Don Grantham asked. "No more than what you've been doing all along. Fishing, hunting, cooking and just being the friendly Charlie Webster that you are today."

When Mr. Grantham learned his friend was running for sheriff, he said, he thought he'd be much like the Caroll O'Connor character from In the Heat of the Night.

"He's short, he's fat, and he's a full-blown redneck."

Commissioner Henry Brigham pointed out he was born in Burke County, part of Sheriff Webster's territory when he was a revenue agent.

"I just want you to know before you retire that the last whisky still you broke up down there was my daddy's still," Mr. Brigham said.

Later in the evening, local attorney Tommy Tucker continued the tale, reading an exchange between defense attorney Pat Rice and then-Agent Webster as he testified in court.

After Agent Webster commented that he trusted his fellow officers with his life, the attorney asked why he kept a lock on his locker. He responded that the locker room was in the same building as court services.

"Sometimes, lawyers have been known to walk through the room," Agent Webster said, according to Mr. Tucker.

Girls Incorporated, a mentor, tutoring and after-school program, named Sheriff Webster the Augustan of the Year.

Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or jedwards92@hotmail.com.