A good crowd of co-workers, friends, family members and other loved ones gathered for a reception to honor Salter held in the community room of the Cherokee County Administration Building.
“We are honored to have you here today to honor Judge Salter,” said Burgess.
“We hate to see him go, but that is the way it is. We are going to be sorrowful for that.”
Salter recognized the Rev. Eric Ellis, a Cherokee County native, who flew in from Auburn, Ala. for the occasion and called upon Rev. Ellis to open in prayer.
“We want to welcome everybody here,” said Burgess.
“This is a great occasion for us. We want to honor Judge Salter. He has been a mentor, he has been a great leader to us and we just want to take this opportunity to thank him. He has his family here today and we are so glad they could be with us.”
Burgess asked the employees of the Cherokee County Tag and Probate Judge’s office to join him in presenting a special plaque to Salter for his years of service.
“When I think about Judge Salter, the first thing that comes to my mind is leader,” said Burgess.
“He is truly a leader. He has been a blessing in my life and I know he has yours too. When I think about a leader there are a couple of characteristics I do want to say about a leader. First of all a leader has to have vision. Judge Salter has vision. The Great Yogi Berra once said, if you don’t know where you are going, you might end up some place else.”
“If you know Judge Salter and the way he has conducted himself, he has always had a vision for the county,” said Burgess. “He has always set his sights on things and has always worked to accomplish those. You know where he stood on issues and although some of the things that he wanted to accomplish have not been accomplished yet, he has planted seeds and he has laid the groundwork for that.”
“But he has accomplished a lot of things in his six years,” said Burgess. “If he has told me once, he has told me 100 times, ‘I’ve got six years to do this job and I want to serve the people of Cherokee County every day and try to make Cherokee county a better place’ and we are blessed to have a man like that.”
A leader, Burgess said, should also have a servant’s heart.
“Judge Salter is always willing, or has been in my respect, to do anything he could for you and for anybody that asked,” said Burgess.
“I just want to give one illustration,” said Burgess. “In April (2011) when we were having the tornadoes, we knew there was going to be bad weather so we sent the county employees home a little early. I was one of those that left. I get a call. I am hunkered down in the basement, I feel my phone buzzing and I go, ‘Oh no, there’s Judge Salter. What does he want?’”
“He was up here with Mrs. Beverly Daniel (Cherokee County EMA director) when the storm was happening,” said Burgess. “I am at home with my family, safe with my family, and he is up here with Mrs. Daniel. The TVs had gone out, our Internet had gone out and we lost all weather information and the hospital was depending on us to tell them where the storm and what was happening. Judge Salter called me to ask me how to get the Internet back up. I said, ‘Well, I will be there.’ He said ‘No, no, no, don’t leave your family, just tell me what to do.’ And I did, and he went back after two or three tries, finally that thing booted back up. But he was here looking out for the citizens of Cherokee county, doing what he could at that particular time, and also he took the lead on some of these things. He was up here everyday and willing to do those things because he cared so much.”
“And judge I just want to tell you how proud I am of you and the job you have done and I know your family is proud of you,” said Burgess. “We all just want to wish you well in your endeavors and we just want to present you with this plaque.”
The plaque was presented to “the Honorable Melvyn Salter, probate judge/commission chairman in recognition of your service to the people of Cherokee county and the office of probate and Cherokee county Commission Jan. 2007 –January 2013.”
“Tim thank you for those kind words,” Salter responded. “I know it came from your heart and I appreciate it very much. These have been six years of learning for me. These ladies have taught me a lot of things. And a lot of things I still don’t know, but I try to rely on them to just take the ball and run with it. They serve this county well. Our county doesn’t really know what kind of employees we have. They are top notch and they are out there working every day in every department to try to make our county a better place to be.”
“I am going to miss being here and Judge Day is going to be taking over at 12:01 Sunday evening,” said Salter. “He has been here before and he knows what kind of folks we have working our offices and we are very proud of them and that is what makes our county really tick and really go.”
“I really appreciate all the different agencies of our county, our sheriff department, DA’s office, circuit and district judges,” said Salter. “We just have a great county and I am just happy to be a part of it and to have the opportunity for you to entrust to me these six years of service.”
“Tim is a great administrator for our county,” said Salter. “And there’s also Johnny Roberts and our revenue department. These two men make a lot of things happen for our county. You are going to be a spot in my heart for the rest of my life. You are special to me and I thank you again for entrusting these days to me. I hope we have done what we thought the Lord wanted us to do. Thank you very much.”
As part of the program, Leesburg Mayor and Close Friend Ed Mackey presented Rev. Salter a special memento for his retirement, a rocking chair!
Salter, as Mackey pointed out, had knee surgery recently and wasn’t up and walking as fast as he thought he might be. He thought the rocking chair might come in handy.
“I appreciate you being a friend to me,” said Mackey. “Take advantage of that rocking chair!”
And last but certainly not least, Salter extended appreciation to his family, including wife, Doris, daughter Sheri and his three grandchildren, Grayson, Hayden and Hunter for sticking by him during his years as commission chairman/probate judge. As many may know, Salter is the former pastor of Centre First Baptist Church where he served for more than 20 years.
“Through the years, as pastor and this position here, Doris has always been right here for me and my children as well,” said Salter. “Any accomplishments I have made are accomplished because of her support. My grandchildren, grand pappy couldn’t have any better pride and joy than the three I have. They always encourage me. I appreciate all of their support and encouragement.”