Major Lafayette Woods, Jr. of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office says he and his fellow law enforcement officers encounter situations on a daily basis that most of society have interest in dealing with.
“After years of service in such a high-stress profession, tension builds,” Woods said, “but then comes times like this, when you can come together for one common interest and pay tribute to a very special person. A person that everyone loved and cherished because of her goodwill and ability to make you smile.”
Woods was referring to Teresa Booner-Lake, affectionately called “Granny,” a former Jefferson County employee. Lake was a frequent sight in the Jefferson County Circuit Courthouse, where she was employed by the Office of the Tax Collector.
Lake battled with cancer and sadly lost that battle on November 16, 2016 at the age of 61. During her memorial service on November 18, 2016, she was remembered by friends, family, and co-workers for that ray of sunshine she brought to everyone she encountered during her time here on earth.
Lake’s husband, Jimmy Lake, along with a dozen personnel from multiple Jefferson County Government Offices to include the Sheriff’s Office, Tax Collector, Assessor and 11th Judicial West Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, turned out for the dedication of a bench permanently placed on the grounds of the Jefferson County Circuit Courthouse. The purchase of the bench was made possible through funds raised by sheriff’s deputies during “No Shave November,” a month-long cancer awareness campaign during which deputies were authorized by Sheriff Gerald Robinson to forgo shaving and grooming facial hair in order to evoke conversation and raise cancer awareness in the name of the late Teresa Booner-Lake.
“Sheriff Robinson has always been reluctant to allow any facial hair beyond a neatly trimmed mustache for deputies,” said Woods. “This is especially true for those in uniform that encounter citizens daily. Sheriff Robinson’s thoughts in regards to facial hair is that appearance and first impressions matter. Deputies should present themselves in a manner that looks professional. However, when I approached Sheriff Robinson with the idea of having deputies pay $20 for the cause, without further discussion he agreed. The participation of deputies was overwhelming and resulted in an extension of the campaign through December 31st.”
The bench also included an engraved plate provided by Tom Brown of Southeast Engravers with the words, “In Loving Memory of Teresa ‘GRANNY’ Lake August 7, 1955 – November 16, 2016” inscribed on it.
“I appreciate Sheriff Robinson and Sheriff-Elect Lafayette Woods, Jr. for doing this for Teresa, one of our favorite people that we highly highly miss,” Jefferson County Tax Collector, Stephanie Glover Stanton told those present during the unveiling of the bench. “We love her dearly and we miss her dearly.”
Flowers purchased by Jimmy Lake were also placed on the bench, adding to the tribute.
Sheriff Robinson closed by saying, “I think it goes without saying how important Teresa was to all of us. Those employees that have been around for a while such as Teresa, formed a bond like family. We were employed together and experienced professional growth while working for Jefferson County. Teresa was always jubilant and smiling. She always had something good to say. We had some of our fondest times during the Association of Arkansas Counties annual conferences, where Teresa was the circle of attention with her dance moves. She was one dancing sister. Today’s tribute was about Teresa and her battle with cancer disease. It was important for us to do this and as a family within Jefferson County. I thought it was befitting to give recognition to someone who was so important to us and although it’s unfortunate that Teresa lost her battle with cancer, memories of her live on.”