Colleagues and friends of outgoing Woodstock Chief Byron Kelly noted his retirement today with a party at the town’s Emergency Services Building. Here, Woodstock Trustee Bob Pear talks with Kelly and the town’s new Chief of Police, Robbie Blish.
Gwen Stanley Photo
Woodstock wished well, this week, to outgoing Chief Byron Kelly, who has been serving on the force for over twenty years. At a gathering of friends and colleagues at the Emergency Services Building Tuesday, Chief Kelly accepted thanks and accolades from Town Manager Phil Swanson, Clerk Mary Riley and others. Village Trustee Candace Coburn spoke, thanked and said that over the years, she’d “watched him deal with things respectfully, thoughtfully and with humor,” and called him the “Chief engineer, educator and enforcer,” in the community. Phil Swanson said that Chief Kelly was a living example of Muhammad Ali’s “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,” axiom. “With words — this guy can dance like a butterfly and if he needs to, he can sting.”
His coworkers got a little good-natured ribbing in, in addition to the praise. Mary said he was a “man of few words…and would spend 45 minutes sharing those words with you.” Public Works Superintendent David Green went so far as to mock up a little book called “Establishing Command For Dummies” from which he read a few pointers such as “Drive slowly to the scene. Driving slowly means that others will arrive before you do.”
The outgoing Chief seemed to take the ribbing in good humor, and for his part, he passed out photographs of some of the Woodstock residents who passed away in his 21 years of service, saying he was doing so “so that we remember the reason I did any of this.”
Incoming Chief of Police Robbie Blish was there — it was his second day on the job and he says he’s enjoying getting to know the town — we welcome him.
We also welcome a new columnist in this issue— Charlie Wilson, former longtime proprietor of the Taftsville Country Store. Charlie takes a spot once filled by Mildred Whitney, and since he passed the Store’s reins to Vickie and Courtney Brooks in fall of last year, he has more time on his hands and agreed to write a bit about Taftsville every week. Vickie and Courtney have just moved into the apartment above the store and Charlie says he couldn’t have found anyone more perfect to run the store.
We anticipate the return of former “Right Side” columnist Peter Behr, who has asked to rejoin the ranks with a weekly “Middle Ground” column, in which he hopes to represent a (somewhat) moderate viewpoint, perhaps somewhere between our two present political columnists. Peter is also, we’ve recently learned, running for President. He says his party is based on “common sense.” We look forward to sharing his columns with you.