By JESSICA CRAWFORD
• Daily Leader
Six decades of service was honored by the community Friday afternoon during a retirement reception for Capt. John Hardy and Capt. Terry Lewis.
Capt. Terry Lewis began his career with the Liberal Police Department on Feb. 3, 1978. Capt. John Hardy followed suit shortly after on June 8, 1978.
Citizens gathered at the Depot Friday afternoon in order to wish Capt. Lewis and Capt. Hardy well. City manager Mark Hall addressed the two thanking them for their years of service to the City of Liberal.
“I would like to take this time to thank John and Terry for their dedication to the city,” he said. “What they have done for the city and the citizens of Liberal is something very special. I would like to say on behalf of the city, both of you are very special officers, an inspiration to other officers and a credit to your law enforcement industry. We can’t replace you, the only thing we can do is wish you well.”
Vice Mayor Doug LaFreniere discussed the first time he met Capt.
Hardy at age 15. He stated that he was “talking to the back of his head – because I was in the back seat.”
“You kind of learn as you grow older to respect people,” LaFreniere added. “These two exemplify the best of the best, and we are grateful to have had them here.”
As Capt. Lewis and Capt. Hardy opened gifts from the community, they laughed and talked with one another like the old friends they have become over the past 30 years they have spent together on the LPD.
“Thank you for the years I have been here, I recommend this job to anybody,” Capt. Lewis said. “I have enjoyed working with the schools, working with the community and working with the police department.
“I believe if you stay around and you work and put in your time, whoever you work for will work with you,” he added. “Thank you for the ride.”
Capt. Hardy discussed the growth he has seen over the past 30 years as he thanked the community for their fine quality of life.
“I have enjoyed working through the ranks and watching the city expand,” he said. “I remember when I first joined the police department there was nothing north of 15th St., only a couple of houses.
“The best part of being in law enforcement has been the quality of the people, the dedication of them. That unseen dedication has made quality of life here better,” he concluded. “The quality of life of the people here in Liberal will never be forgotten, thank you.”
On Monday, the two will officially began their retirement. They are appreciated and will be missed by all who have worked with them.
“Although there is sadness at the loss of these two dedicated public servants within the ranks of the Liberal Police Department,” said Chief Al Sill. “The men and women who have served with them celebrate the successful completion of these two extraordinary careers.”