Rickey Dawson Jr., sworn in as Crisp County Coroner

Published 1:30 pm Thursday, September 23, 2021


By Neil B. McGahee

Managing Editor

A long line of family and friends stretched around the front of the Crisp County Courthouse to watch as Judge Amber Holloway administered the oath of office Wednesday to Rickey Dawson Jr., the newly appointed Crisp County coroner. Dawson succeeds long-time coroner Jimmy Rainey who passed away last week.

Dawson has some idea of what he can expect.
He served the last four years as a deputy coroner reporting to Rainey.

“’Mr. Jimmy,’” really helped me,” Dawson said

“I am really going to miss him.”

Dawson is no stranger to the business.

“I was around funeral homes most of my early life,” he said. “My uncle, Arthur Parker, worked for J.W. Williams Funeral Home, so I have some experience with this type of work.

Dawson is a Cordele native who graduated from Crisp County High.

He said he already has plans for his new role but first he said he has to see what he can and cannot do.

“Right now, there are only two of us, me and Deputy Coroner Richard Wright,” he said. “One of the first things I want to do is get with the commissioners and the county administrator and see if we can get another deputy on board.”

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Beal-Shephard tries to weather the storm over City HallBy Neil B. McGahee Managing Editor Cordele City Commissioner Vesta Beal-Shephard was elected in 2001 to represent the people of Ward One. By all accounts, she has done a very good job of relating to the citizens living in her ward. Recently, however, a dark cloud has settled over City Hall. From the first day of his term, newly-elected commission chairman Joshua Antwan Deriso began taking verbal snipes on social media at some of the other commissioners. Shephard says she just ignored it at first but on April 9, Deriso posted on Facebook “…It was much anticipated for Comm. Rainey to be against change. Comission (sp) Shephard fights against me the hardest…does not know much about government at all…She needs to be voted out next year 2023.” A few days later, he posted live saying …“I am totally over the games, the political stuff…a lot of people want to make what I said about Commissioner Shephard something about disagreement with Commissioner Shephard. It was her ignorance and short-sightedness…not able to understand what we can do as a government. “When there were people in charge that didn’t look like us…white people… she didn’t question anything. Since I became chairman, she has blocked everything…you don’t know what you are doing; you don’t know what you are talking about.” Shephard winces as she listens to Deriso. “I don’t do drama and I don’t do pettiness,” she said. “I refute everything he has said about me. I’m not angry with Josh; I am somewhat disturbed that he has targeted me, a citizen of Cordele; a black female…he accused me of loving white folks. Well I do love white folks, and brown folks and black folks — Haitian, Jamaican, Indian, Cuban, Mexican — I have no discrimination to anyone. My job is to facilitate for people in this ward and when I vote, I vote my conviction.” Shephard said she doesn’t know why Deriso has such hard feelings against her. “It’s so sad, I have to say that I never saw it coming,” she said. ”But I have to voice my opinion.” But one sad thing has evolved from this. “This is the first time I have been discriminated against by a fellow commissioner,” she said. “I used to invite people to my home if they had a problem. But I had to stop that. If you want to meet with me, we will have to go to a public area or to my office at city hall. I am going to keep my distance for the simple reason that I don’t want to endanger myself.