Chatham bridge named after late Pittsylvania County Deputy Sheriff

Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 6:28 PM EST
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CHATHAM, Va. (WDBJ) - The Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors held a bridge dedication ceremony Tuesday to remember the late Deputy Sheriff J. Holland Thomas Sr.

Deputy Thomas was shot on duty in 1952 by a murder suspect he was searching for off Route 41. He passed away four years later due to an infection in the wound.

“It’s dream of a lifetime to see my grandfather remembered and honored in a way that I think he and the other deputies who gave it, the sacrifice, all deserve,” said Garry Thomas, grandson of J. Holland Thomas Sr.

“It’s really just to honor the memory of Holland Thomas and to thank his family for their contribution, which runs pretty deep because Holland Thomas has a lot of law enforcement connections,” said Vic Ingram, Chairman of the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors.

Deputy Thomas left a law enforcement legacy, as his son was the Chief of Police in Chatham for 40 years. His grandson has been in law enforcement for 43 years.

“I’ve had so many people talk about my grandfather, all the good things he did and how he treated people while he performed the work. It made me feel like I knew him and he gave me quite a legacy to try halfway live up to. It’s pretty tough,” added Thomas.

The bridge, located on Chalk Level Road, which crosses over U.S 29, will be renamed the “Deputy Sheriff J. Holland Thomas Sr Memorial Bridge” in his honor.

That specific bridge leads to where Deputy Thomas used to live.

“Some counties do not go to the level that they do here. To honor the officers slayed in the line of duty and here, it’s not just once and done; it’s every year,” explained Thomas.

Ingram says Pittsylvania County has lost 10 law enforcement officers throughout the years. They hope to continue to recognize those lives lost in the line of duty.