I first met Terry in 2016 while making a television commercial for Sheriff Noel Brown’s first campaign. She was eager to meet me and made sure that I knew I was welcome and part of the group. She had a smile that I will never forget and a hug that would make you feel like the most important person in the world.
On July 18th, 1994, Terry Harville began her career with the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office, starting out in the jailing area working at the booking desk. It wasn’t long before her hard work and ability to handle records and process paperwork led her to transfer to the administration side of BCSO.
Bulloch County Sheriff Noel Brown stated, “Terry quickly took on multiple responsibilities ranging from reception to records administration, and accounting.” He went further to say, “when Terry started her career, many records were still not computerized at the Sheriff’s office. Often paperwork was stacked on her desk, as multiple Sheriff Deputies will attest to. But when a particular item was needed, Terry would instantly retrieve it from the mountains of documents. Her unconventional, but accurate methodology of record keeping was well known and often a source of humor around the office.”
In Sheriff Noel Brown's nomination letter for Terry to receive the Meritorious Service Award posthumously, he noted, “Terry was a great representative to the other law enforcement agencies that the Sheriff’s Office works with every day. She would always get them the information they needed to carry out their tasks. Whether state, federal, or local; members of our partner agencies knew exactly who to call when they needed help with obtaining certain documents or coordinating an event between agencies.”
"She never met a stranger. She made friends with someone everywhere she went."Christie Harville Black
Christie shares about her sister
In Terry’s obituary, it was said, “She loved people and people loved her. Going to the beach, mountains, and Soap Creek (Lake life) were things she truly enjoyed.” While thinking about Terry, I decided to reach out to Christie Harville Black, Terry’s sister, and best friend. I wanted to learn about what the single most important person in Terry’s life had to say about her. Without hesitation, Christie replied, “there are many things that I could share about Terry. She was like a second mother to me. She was a person that could walk into a room of people that she did not know and walk out knowing everyone. She never met a stranger. She made friends with someone everywhere she went.” This sounds very familiar, I thought to myself.
"She loved everyone she worked with at the Sheriff's Office. She considered her co-workers family."Christie Harville Black
I asked Christie what Terry’s favorite thing was. Christie shared, “the first thing that comes to mind is her family (biological and work). Terry loved all her family. She loved her nieces and nephews. She was a person that some of the nieces and nephews would call for advice. They might not have liked what she had to say, but they would still call. She loved everyone she worked with at the Sheriff’s Office. She considered her co-workers family.”
Christie elaborated on Terry’s work family, “when Terry went to work at the Sheriff’s Office in 1994, she found her purpose. She found a place where she could do something for the community. She loved her work family from the time she started there until her last breath.”
Sheriff Noel Brown talks about Terry
When talking with Sheriff Brown, he said, “the single most memorable thing about Terry was that she never said that’s not my job. She would always ask how she could help.” He quickly shared this example, “Terry would help people with their backgrounds. She would take the time to help people get back on track. There is a lot involved in getting a person’s background straightened out, a lot of hoops to jump through, but Terry always carried helping people further.”
Being devoted to her family, co-workers, and people passing through the Sheriff’s Office wasn’t enough for Terry. I quickly learned during my research that Terry selflessly gave of her resources, and her time. Sheriff Brown shared with me, “through Terry’s commitment to Safe Haven she had saved multiple lives.” He said, “she also participated in Dancing with the Statesboro Stars, Safe Haven's largest fundraiser each year.” Sheriff Brown went further to say, “this is significant because not only did she participate, but she also received an award for fundraising the most money that season. Terry also received the Team Player Award. The Team Player Award is nominated by other dancers in the competition.”
"Terry did not help for the notoriety but for the satisfaction of knowing that she was giving back to the community that she loved."Christie Harville Black
Before Dancing with the Statesboro Stars, Terry received the Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Award in 2001. The Deen Day Smith Award honors Statesboro and Bulloch County citizens for their devotion to others and the community. Christie Harville Black shared more about Terry and her service to Bulloch County, “Terry had a huge heart and loved to help people. She helped organize many projects that enabled her to be of service to others in the community. Terry did not help for the notoriety but for the satisfaction of knowing that she was able to give back to the community that she loved.” Sheriff Brown stated, “Terry tackled everything head-on, especially with fundraising and campaigning. She would give her last dime to help someone. That is just how caring she was.”
Terry's passing leaves a massive hole in hearts
It is certain that the sudden passing of Terry Harville has left a massive hole in the hearts of so many in Statesboro and throughout Bulloch County. Lynn Harville Bunch, also Terry’s sister shared, “Terry helped me get a job here after losing a job I had for over 25 years. We worked together here for 19 years and the last 7 full time.”
"Her laughter was contagious."Sheriff Deputy Bubba Revell
Deputy Bubba Revell shared, “Terry was a very kind and giving soul. She truly loved to help people and hear about your life stories while she shared hers. Her laughter was contagious.”
"She understood that it was all about serving the people of Bulloch County."Sheriff Noel Brown
I asked Sheriff Noel Brown what else he would like to say about Terry, “she understood the office of the Sheriff. She knew the real meaning that it wasn’t about serving the Sheriff. She truly understood that it was all about serving the people of Bulloch County.”
Christie explained, “Terry had a lot of things that she liked to do, but her favorite thing was to travel. She loved going to the beach, whether for a day trip or for the week. She loved the ocean even though she hated the sand.” She shared a little more, “when we would finish our yearly trip with our other sisters, she was ready to start planning for the next year. This past January, while her niece Andie Jane was out of school, she wanted to travel to Bryson City. She found out that weekend it was going to snow. Terry was thrilled to be able to go to the mountains and watch it snow. Terry also looked forward to going to Clark Hill every year. We would travel there several times a year and spend a long weekend.” Christie said, “while our father was living, she liked to go fishing with him at Clark Hill.”
In closing, Christie said, “there is no possible way to sum up what Terry meant to each life she touched. While I know she is no longer here in her earthly body, she will always live on through those who crossed her path.”
I went to Terry’s Facebook page and found a post that she had made on August 21st. This is what it said: “Life is an echo. What you send out, comes back. What you sow, you reap. What you give, you get. What you see in others exists in you. Do not judge, so you will not be judged. Radiate and give love and love will come back to you.” – Fragments of My Mind created the image.
Terry A. Harville passed away peacefully in her sleep on August 31st, 2022. Though she may be gone, the love that she gave is forever embedded in the hearts of every person that had the privilege of knowing her. May you rest easy in Heaven Terry, for when your job on earth was done, God made sure to bring you back home.