Wednesday was a day rich in local history with the swearing-in of Gerald Goad as Carroll County’s new Clerk of the Circuit Court.
Goad, who officially began his duties in the new position Wednesday, became just Carroll County’s second Democratic constitutional officer in the past 100 years, and the first since Bob Snow was elected to the same position more than 30 years ago. Shortly after being sworn in by Carroll County Circuit Court Judge Brett Geisler, Goad noted he would most likely be calling on Snow in the future.
“A particular individual I want to thank for his service is Mr. Bob Snow, our former clerk,” Goad said during a reception following his swearing-in on Wednesday. “Thank you Bob for all your hard work and I will probably be calling you many times.”
While most newly-elected constitutional officers don’t begin serving until January 1 of the year following their election date, Goad could start immediately following his state certification and swearing-in. Goad is able to step in early since former Clerk Carolyn Honeycutt resigned from the position earlier this year.
“I would say what we have here is a hard-working individual who is ready to go and well-prepared to take on this task,” Judge Geisler said prior to swearing in Goad for a term that will run from Dec. 16, 2015 to Dec. 31, 2023.
Goad spoke to a crowd of friends, family and supporters during a reception following the swearing-in ceremony in the Historic Carroll County Courthouse. He said it is an honor and blessing to serve as clerk of the circuit court.
“I am here for you. I work upon the pleasure of Carroll County. I work upon the pleasure of each and every person that resides here, as well as the City of Galax. I am your Clerk of Court now. I am not just a certain group’s Clerk of Court. I am not my own clerk,” Goad said. “I am your clerk and so please call me at any time you need anything.”
Goad said he resigned from his former job at Wytheville Community College on November 20 and began work in the clerk’s office three days later the following Monday. He’s worked non-stop since then with the exception of going for state training the week of Dec. 7-11.
“I didn’t get paid for any of this time and I volunteered because the best way for me to learn is to jump right in,” Goad said. “I didn’t take any time for myself or my family as I feel like it is my opportunity and my due diligence to serve our county.”
Goad said he looks forward to enhancing the services of the Clerk’s Office. He’s looking into implementing services offered by the Virginia Supreme Court and making the office more electronic as far as the accessibility of records and documents.
“I really look forward to meeting with the Historical Society, the Genealogy Club and the Library of Virginia in preserving our historical documents,” Goad said. “Our county is very full of rich history here and it is our job to protect that and just really being a helper and a person that is here to serve. I am not here for myself. This is all for you all.”
The historical aspect of Wednesday’s ceremonies followed after Goad’s speech. Local attorney Joe McGrady announced his donation of a desk to the Carroll County Historical Society that belonged to Goad’s great-great uncle, former Carroll County Circuit Court Clerk Dexter Goad, Carroll’s Clerk of Court during the infamous Carroll County Courthouse Shootout of 1912.
“I started my law practice about 43 years ago and my great aunt, Maude McGrady Saferight, just happened to have Gerald’s great-great uncle’s desk, Dexter Goad,” McGrady said. “It is one of life’s little ironies that I ended up with that desk. She wanted me to have it since I was the first lawyer in the family. And it has been in our house for around 42 years.”
McGrady said it was his understanding that his great-aunt acquired the desk from Belva Goad, the daughter-in-law of Dexter Goad.
“I fully depose and say that it is my desire to donate this desk to the Carroll County Historical Society to be placed in the museum in honor of Gerald Goad, who was recently elected Clerk of the Circuit Court of Carroll County and is Dexter Goad’s great-great nephew,” McGrady said as he read from an affidavit.
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on [email protected]