And that is how at least two of Debbie Bankson’s superiors describe her service to Cherokee County. A reception was held for Bankson recently in the community room of the Cherokee County Administration Building for her retirement as chief clerk for the Cherokee County Probate Judge’s office following 35 years of faithful service.
“I am thankful I have had the opportunity to work for the county for 35 years,” said Bankson. “There’s a lot of good memories, a lot of good friendships, it is just time to go.”
“It’s fun, it’s good, it’s exciting. It is bittersweet. It is kind of sad too. But I am looking forward to it,” said Bankson.
Former Cherokee County Commission Chairman/Probate Judge Melvyn Salter shared how he will always remember Bankson.
“Six years ago when we went into office, the first few days I wondered what in the world have I gotten myself into?” said Salter. “You think you know what you are going to be doing and wanting to accomplish, but when you never been there to know what to do and how to get it accomplished, you are just lost. Debbie made everything so much easier because she had been there.”
“She would just take charge of things sometimes,” said Salter. “She doesn’t know how much I appreciated that.
“One thing I can say about her dedicated service is she wanted to make sure that everything that came through the probate court was done right. Because she said ‘50 years from now, I don’t want somebody to come back and look at our records and found we have done it wrong.”’
“One of the most amusing things to me that would happen from time to time, is when an attorney from one of the other counties came around,” said Salter. “They would call and want to probate a will or do an administration or something like that, and they would start telling Debbie how it needed to be done. Debbie would say ‘no, this is the way it needs to be done.’ ‘Well that is not the way we do it in Dekalb County, Etowah County.’ She would say ‘that is the way it is going to be done in Cherokee County.”’
“Debbie is one of the most qualified individuals in our state in regard to being a chief clerk,” said Salter. “To go to the different meetings across the state, to see those who turn to her for advice and direction, Debbie, I appreciate you so very much and it has been a great joy to work with you and see the dedicated and committed Christian life that you have sought to live every day. And that formed the basis of your work ethic. And I want to thank you for that.”
Current Cherokee County Probate Judge Kirk Day and members of the office staff presented Bankson with a special gift in honor of her retirement.
“When Debbie told me she was retiring it was with tears, uncontrollable sobbing, hyperventilation and she told me to stop!” laughed Day.
“That was actually me doing all that because you never think of the probate office of Cherokee county without thinking of Debbie Bankson. I think back to my years in the Army, they had an old saying. The officers, come and go, but the NCOs are the ones that really do the work, That’s no more truer than with our situation in Cherokee County. We are very blessed to have a very dedicated public servant who always sought excellence because she knew the paperwork she is handling is affecting the lives of citizens, whether it be small children doing an adoption, whether it be the final disposition of someone’s hard-earned property and money in their estate or someone who is in dire need of mental health treatment.”
“Throughout that, everything was done properly, everything was done correctly and all of that was done because of the professionalism of Debbie Bankson,” said Day. “And I know when I first came in office (2004), there was a very tumultuous time, but the county had somebody very steady at the rudder who guided it through all that for several weeks before I showed up on the scene. And it was in truly good hands and I couldn’t ask for a better mentor and friend during those times than Debbie Bankson. She always took the time to help me out, to show me how things were done, and the wisdom and advice she gave me just really, really made the difference there.”
“She would have done that regardless of who was there because she is so professional at what she does,” said Day. “She always puts this county and its people first. My time in office was one that I know whatever got put in front of me that Debbie had prepared was done to perfection.
“And she always sought the answer. If she wasn’t satisfied with something, she was always on the phone with the law institute or other chief clerks. She wanted to make sure that it was done right and all the bases covered.
“It is kind of one of those things, no matter who had been probate judge, this county always had a steady force, a steady hand at the wheel.
“We are truly going to miss that because Debbie, you have been a true friend, a true confidante in me and a great mentor. Like I say, it is never going to be the same without you. And we are truly going to miss you.”
“I just want to thank Judge Salter and Judge Day for all the kind comments and good words they have spoken,” said Bankson. “I appreciate both of them. I thank them for allowing me to serve as their chief clerk. And I would just like to say that I am thankful I have had the opportunity to work for the county 35 years.”
“There have been a lot of good times, a lot of good memories,” said Bankson. “I would also like to take the opportunity to say that I have had opportunity to meet and work with a lot of great people. There are a lot of good memories made that I will cherish.”
“For everybody that participated and planned this, thank you, I appreciate it,” said Bankson.