CANNONSBURG More than 130 folks packed the Boyd County Community Center Thursday to celebrate one of the unsung heroes in the community: deputy jailers.

Bill Hensley, Boyd County Jailer, said the jail has had to overcome many challenges since he took office — and COVID was probably one of the toughest of them all. When talking to folks in the community, Hensley said he’s been commended for how he’s run the place.

But Hensley said folks have it all wrong — it’s the deputies who make the jail what it is today.

“I’m not the one interacting with the inmates. I’m not the one who is risking getting infected with COVID,” Hensley said. “Nobody realizes how hard they have worked to change the attitude and climate inside the detention center.”

Hensley was talking to a vendor for the jail, which proposed putting on an evening for the deputy jailers — food, entertainment and awards.

The event, which was catered by Bombshells and Ales, is a way to wind down from the stress of the job, said Sgt. Zachary Sowards of the Boyd County Detention Center.

More importantly, to be recognized — after all the challenges the jail has faced — is a big deal, Sowards said.

“It feels good to finally have the community, law enforcement and other agencies on the same page with us,” Sowards said. “I’ve worked there for four years now and I think this is the closest we’ve seen everybody on that page.”

And the audience attendance could show it — the commissioners on the Boyd County Fiscal Court, Ashland Mayor Matthew B. Perkins, State Sen. Robin Webb and more were all in attendance, eating alongside the men and women who keep the jail running everyday.

While security might not seem like a big deal considering the line of work most of the folks in the room are in, Hensley didn’t cheap out on that.

All the way from Mayberry, he got the one and only Deputy Barney Fife to come on up. Fife, with his trusty bullet in his top pocket, told The Daily Independent Andy had put him charge to try bring some order to the event.

“I’ve been through here before, it reminds me a lot of Mayberry,” Fife said.

Fife, portrayed by impressionist Sammy Sawyer, brought some less than enthused deputy jailers (and a few who played along) up on the stage to place hats on their heads in a bid to unleash their “inner Mayberry.” Mark Hunley became Otis (the town drunk). Gus Gusman played Gomer (the first gas station attendant). Nathan Perry portrayed Goober (Gomer’s cousin who took over when Gomer went into the military) and the two wild girls from Mt. Pilot, Daphne and Skippy, were played by by two Amandas, Osborne and Hardin.

Heck, even Hensley’s dad got in on the action — he got to play the craziest nut of them all, Ernest T. Bass, vandal extraordinaire.

And out of all of them, William Hensley certainly channeled his inner Mayberry the best, hiking his pants up like that madman from the mountains.

The event also saw entertainment from ventriloquist Steve Brogan, as well as videos recognizing all the deputies and staff at the jail, as well as the programs used to rehabilitate inmates.

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