Once upon a time, Tony Boggs actually worked in the newspaper business. Straight out of high school in 1988, Boggs was hired by what was then known as The Ravenswood News.
Boggs enjoyed the myriad of duties he handled behind the scenes of helping to produce award-winning publications.
Funny, but as the years have raced by Boggs has gone from serving in the background of the newspaper business to actually being featured in stories and photographs as a law enforcement officer for the county since the early 1990's.
While he enjoyed working at the print site in Ravenswood, Boggs always knew that being a part of law enforcement was what he aspired to do.
As a young person, Curt Harris (a long-time conservation officer in Jackson County) was basically my idol," said Boggs. "I wanted to be like Curt. That got me started in the criminal justice classes, which led to a civil service test and that led to getting hired in the jail in 1991."
Law enforcement has been a part of Boggs' life ever since.
Fast-forward 22 years and Boggs is now embarking on a four-year term as the Sheriff of Jackson County. Boggs was elected in November to take over from Mike Bright, who had served the county for eight years.
Bright was the fourth different Sheriff Boggs had the pleasure of working for and with since he landed that first job as a jailer.
Boggs went to work at the jail during Bob Westfall's administration. He left Jackson County briefly to be with the Parkersburg Police Department. Less than a year later, though, he was back in Jackson County.
I had a very short stint up there. Jeanette McVay wanted to know if I would come back as a Deputy, which I graciously accepted," said Boggs. "I came back in May of 1993."
Boggs also served during Linn Jones' four-year stint as Sheriff. He's gone from Deptuty to Corporal to Sergeant to Lieutenant to Chief Deputy and now to Sheriff.
For a 10-year period, Boggs was a full-time investigator for the Sheriff's Department. "Chief Deputy D.J. Martin was very big on investigations," Boggs said.
The past two years he was Chief Deputy for Bright.
I've been fortunate to be under and with all of those folks," he said. "Mike did a great job and left this place in great condition. I am thrilled so far. We have a wonderful bunch of people to work with in the courthouse and outside the courthouse. This county meshes together (when it comes to state, county and city law enforcement) so much than other places I've been."
The years have moved along at a steady pace in his career, but Boggs notes that Harris is never far from his thoughts. "Curt was the only law enforcement I had any contact with whatsoever," said Boggs, who grew up in the Murraysville area of Jackson County. "I was enamored with his equipment and just him in general.
Page 2 of 2 - Back in the day I lived with my grandparents and my mother. We happened to have one of the most populated deer fields in the county. It was a hot spot for spotlighting. Curt was just a nice, nice guy. He stopped and talked to me a lot."
Boggs says it's hard to believe sometimes what has transpired in his life professionally, but he's proud to have served his county and is looking forward to the next four years.
Jackson County is home. I have children here (two sons). My whole family is here. If that's not enough motivation to do the best I can, then I don't know what would be," he said.
His lone regret as he takes office is the fact his grandmother – Mona Parsons – isn't around to see it all unfold. She died a month before the general election at the age of 88.
We were tight. We went to church together every Sunday. She had never voted until the spring election," said Boggs. "She early voted the very first day."
While making funeral arrangements, the family had to go through his grandmother's purse. One of the items found was a "Tony Boggs For Sheriff" card.
Having grown up here, Boggs understand what a great place Jackson County is to live and work. His chief mission as the county's new Sheriff is to keep it that way.