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County bailiff wins Cannaday Award
H. Clay Gravely IV (left), secretary-treasurer of the Martinsville-Henry County Bar Association, presents the Michael W. Cannaday Award to Henry County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Christopher Lampkins on Thursday. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
Henry County Sheriff’s Sgt. Chris Lampkins, who has been a court bailiff for more than a dozen years, received the 2013 Michael Cannaday Award from the Martinsville-Henry County Bar Association on Thursday.
“The award is designed to recognize the member of the legal community (lawyer, court official, law enforcement and related) who provides outstanding service to the community. It is essentially the bar association’s citizen of the year,” George Lyle, a former president of the bar association, said in an email.
Lampkins, who has worked for the sheriff’s office since 1977, has been a bailiff for about 13 or 14 years, he said. Before that, he worked in the sheriff’s office’s corrections division (jail), rising from correctional officer to shift leader and then assistant jail administrator.
He also was an assistant coach for boys basketball and boys track at Laurel Park High School from 1991-2004, he said, adding that he assisted coach Frank Scott. According to the Virginia High School League, Laurel Park won the state AA boys outdoor track championship in 1998 and was runner-up to the state champion in 1999.
Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judge Susan Deatherage praised Lampkins for, among other things, his work ethic, being a team player, his compassion and advice for court clients, his humbleness and his polished appearance.
“We love him. We love working with him. I hope he doesn’t leave me anytime soon,” Deatherage said during the award presentation. In an interview, she said Lampkins probably is one of the hardest working and most diligent people she has ever known and that he “gives 110 percent.”
Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court is unique in that it is highly charged emotionally because it deals with child custody and other sensitive matters, Lyle said. Families who come to that court often get emotional and upset, but Lampkins “has a great way of working with them,” Lyle said.
Lampkins already was working for the sheriff’s office when Sheriff Lane Perry joined the department, Perry said. “He (Lampkins) always set an excellent example. He is very dedicated to his family and the community,” Perry added.
“I am blessed to work with (Lampkins),” said sheriff’s Lt. Ronnie Minter.
“He’s a great man. He’s a great community person,” retired sheriff’s Maj. Nelson Thomas said of Lampkins. Thomas supervised Lampkins directly or indirectly many years.
Nearly 90 people braved the sleet and snow to attend the 4 p.m. ceremony in the Henry County Circuit Courtroom. Circuit court judges David Williams and Martin Clark Jr.; Clay Gravely, secretary/treasurer of the bar association; and attorney R. Reid Young III, the 2012 recipient of the award, also took part in the ceremony.
Lampkins, of the Laurel Park area, was presented a plaque, a $500 check and a bottle of wine.
When it came time for Lampkins to speak, he couldn’t at first. After a few moments, he said: “I want to thank everybody for coming. I’m shocked. I wasn’t expecting it. I want to thank my family for coming. I work with a lot of good folks. This is the only job I’ve ever had. ... Thanks to everybody. I appreciate it.”
In an interview, Lampkins said that after serving three years in the Army, he went to Danville Community College for a year and was offered a job at the Henry County Sheriff’s Office.
“I have loved my job from day one,” he said. He added he has been blessed with good health and hasn’t missed many days of work during his career.
“I love working. I look forward to coming to work,” he said.
Lampkins likes talking to people who come to court and trying to help them, and he likes giving tips to young attorneys about such things as what judges expect, he said.
“I could be retired now. I’m not. I don’t know what I’d do,” he said.
His family includes his wife, Julia; two daughters, Alicia Taylor of Greensboro, N.C., and Cherron Lampkins of Baltimore, Md.; and three grandchildren.
“The award is named for Cannaday, who has been a lawyer in Henry County for more than 40 years and has a long history of civic involvement, including the Jaycees, Boy Scouts and Rotary International,” Lyle said in an email.
Cannaday was unable to attend to present the award.
This was the second year the award was presented.