Retired Henry County Clerk of Circuit Court Vickie Helmstutler has been named temporarily to fill that role in Patrick County.
Sherri Hazlewood, the elected clerk, is suffering from a significant medical condition and is temporarily unavailable to perform her duties, David V. Williams, chief judge of the 21st Judicial Circuit, wrote in his order designating Helmstutler as temporary clerk.
Hazelwood’s condition and prognosis were not disclosed.
Williams cited the requirement that a temporary clerk be named and designated Helmstutler, who was the Henry County Circuit Clerk for 16 years and had spent 40 years in that office before retiring 3 1/2 years ago.
She took over in Patrick County last month and will continue until Hazelwood can return.
“This designation begins Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019, and continues until the honorable Sherri Hazlewood can return to her full-time duties,” Williams wrote.
Hazlewood was elected clerk of Patrick County Circuit Court in a special election in November 2017 to fill the unexpired term of former clerk Susan C. Gasperini, who had retired effective April 1, 2017. Hazlewood had begun her career in the clerk’s office in 1989 and had held the positions of senior deputy clerk and courtroom clerk since 1995.
Helmstutler, a resident of Bassett, said in a phone interview Monday afternoon that “the judge asked me to serve, and I agreed to do so.” And she said she promised to do her best.
Before she retired on Dec. 31, 2015, Helmstutler was honored by the Henry County Board of Supervisors with a resolution about her decades of service. Williams at the time praised her for her “honesty, integrity, good judgment and good humor. “
“Believe it or not, there are some places in the commonwealth where the Circuit Court judge and the Circuit Court clerk won’t even talk to each other,” Williams said at the time. “But we’ve never had a cross word.”
Hazlewood and her husband, Richard Wayne Hazlewood, also are scheduled to appear at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 19 in Patrick County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court to face charges of misdemeanor domestic assault on each other. Patrick County Sheriff’s deputies in June responded to an early-morning call to Sherri Hazelwood’s home on Wayside Road. The complaint, which lists a different address for her husband, says the Hazelwoods had a physical altercation.