LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Since he was a teenager, Joedy Gilliland’s life has been dedicated to service.
At 18, he enlisted in the Army, serving nearly three years. After his tour of active duty, he spent a year in Fort Campbell and then five more years in the National Guard.
Eventually he joined the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office, where he’s currently the chief deputy.
On Wednesday, Gilliland announced his retirement from the department.
“When I first started, you always think about that - 20 years and then you get to retire," Gilliland said. "And you know, I guess that’s what you think. So, I got there and I felt like it was a good time to go.”
Gilliland’s retirement also comes on Veterans Day, something he planned in advance after talking to Sheriff Ramon Pineiroa, who is also a veteran.
“I probably wouldn’t have been able to be a police officer if I hadn’t joined the Army and gotten all that experience to become a police officer," Gilliland said. "So, that was the reason. I’ve always say the Army did more for me than I could do for the Army, so Veterans Day is really important to me and that’s why I chose it.”
Wednesday afternoon, Gilliland’s brothers and sisters in blue showed him what he’s meant to them over the years. They threw him a farewell luncheon, and showered him with gifts, cards and love on his last day of work.
“You can’t really put a finger on it," Patrol Capt. Richard Jones said. "It becomes a part of their life. They’re there to help people in any way, shape or form. You don’t realize until you work with a veteran or you’ve been in that setting what a true sacrifice they do make for us.”
Gilliland said he could feel the love from his coworkers, and wanted to pass that appreciation on to other veterans.
“It’s not something you have to do, but it’s something some people like to do," Gilliland said. "And I think it’s nice to know you’re appreciated.”
Gilliland told WAVE 3 News he plans to pursue a career in real estate and spend more time at home with his wife and children.