By Jesse Wood
The Town of Boone is celebrating the retirement of Officer Mike Foley on Wednesday, Aug. 31 at the Jones House Cultural and Community Center from 3 to 6 p.m.
Downtown Boone was Foley’s beat, and Aug. 31 will be his last day on the force. Foley has spent 18 years with the Boone Police Department – most of which was spent downtown.
Foley started working for the Town of Boone in patrol in April 1998 but moved to downtown in December 1999 after Bob Kennedy, the assistant chief at the time, tried to find somebody to work the downtown strip. After nobody jumped at the assignment, Kennedy told Foley, “I think you’d be a good fit down there.”
Kennedy said he would put him back on patrol if Foley didn’t like the assignment after several months. But soon, Foley, clutching his coffee mug, was a local fixture, as much a part of downtown Boone as the Mast General Store.
While parts of Foley, including his age, tell him it’s time to move on and get out of the police business, Foley said he’s certainly become attached to the downtown community.
“I guess it’s mixed feelings,” Foley said. “I’ve been here so long on King Street, it’s kind of like [leaving] family … the town’s always been pretty good to me. Probably one of the best places I’ve every worked.”
Foley’s relationship with the downtown community is something that Boone Police Chief Dana Crawford noted.
“You know we are really going to miss him,” Crawford said on Monday. “He’s been a very dedicated, loyal officer downtown. He’s always kept the businesses very near and dear to him and as a servant, giving them the best quality service that he possibly can. He had great relationships with our community in that area and we really appreciate his hard work and dedication through the years down there.”
Replacing Foley downtown will be Glen Kornhauser.
“The officer going down there is going to have some big shoes to fill to make those contacts that Mike has down there, and we are really looking forward to that, and at the same time, we are going to miss Mike’s dedication down there and what he’s been able to do for us as an agency.”
During its monthly council meeting on Aug. 18, the Boone Town Council passed a resolution, citing Foley as a master police officer who served as a “leader in the Boone Police Department in an exemplary fashion.”
The resolution awarded Foley with his police badge and service weapon, a .40 caliber Model 22 Glock. Foley received a standing ovation from the town council, town staff and community attending the meeting.
On Monday morning, Officer Foley delivered flowers to some of the office staff in Town Hall, where Foley also has an office. One of those staff members was Nicole Worley, a secretary for the Town of Boone, who said she’s known Officer Foley since she was 16, back when she worked in Boone Drug on King Street.
Asked if town staff were going to miss Officer Foley, Worley said, “Oh my gosh. Yes. Absolutely.”
Another secretary for the Town of Boone, Linda Councill created a photo-memory book as a retiring present for Foley, (see images below) and Officer Foley was the “employee spotlight” in the town’s July/August newsletter.
Foley said he plans to hold a part-time job during retirement and go on a cruise with his wife of 37 years, Laurel. They live in the Valle Crucis area.
Prior to working with the Boone Police Department, Foley was employed with the Holly Hill Police Department, which is located in between Daytona Beach and Foley’s hometown of Ormond Beach, Fla., for 16 years. In all, Foley served 34 years in law enforcement.
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