SMARR, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – “We’ve been to 13, 14 hundred meetings together,” said Monroe County Commissioner Larry Evans.
You have a tendency to get to know someone after serving the public with them for a long time.
“We’ve had to work for the best interests of Monroe County,” said Evans. “Ham and I started on the Board of Commissioners in 1987,” said Evans.
That’s how Monroe County District 1 commissioner Larry Evans knew Jim Ham.
“Most people couldn’t even tell you his name. Everyone referred to Big Jim,” said Evans.
And with a nickname like that, you have to be a lovable guy and a strong public servant.
“Everyone that knew him, they liked Jim,” said Evans. “We built a sub title D class landfill…We got the fire rating down from a 9 to a 6, that lowered insurance ratings all over.”
That’s why Friday’s car accident took someone who had been at the heart of Monroe County for so long.
“It’s just simply been devastating for all of us,” said Evans. “I’m going to sorely miss him.”
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating how Ham ran off the road and into a ditch near his home in Smarr.
“To me it looked to be an inadvertent accident as if he ran off the road and over corrected,” said Evans.
Evans visited the crash site after it happened.
“He had just left the sendoff for the Mary Persons Bulldogs,” said Evans.
Now, it’s up to him and the other commissioners to continue to fight for what Ham believed in.
“He would want me to always remember that we’re working for the best interests of people–all people in Monroe County,” said Evans.
Ham’s funeral will be at Forsyth United Methodist Church Tuesday at 3 p.m.
That’s at 68 w. Johnston Street in Forsyth.
Graveside services will follow.