Highway dedicated in memory of former sheriff

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Leroy Meadows Memorial Highway was formally dedicated Thursday, Nov. 5, in honor of the veteran Mississippi County Sheriff, who passed away in March of this year.

"Leroy committed his life to serving the public," Mississippi County Judge Steve McGuire said. "He was a quality person. He served in the military and in law enforcement. It is only right that we name County Road #599, that comes to the Sheriff's office, after him."

Mississippi County Sheriff James Sanders, County Judge Steve McGuire (at podium), Vivian Meadows, Dennis Meadows and Jenny Eatmon. (Town Crier photo/Nan Snider)

Meadows was born in Osceola in 1935 and went on to graduate from high school there. He served in the U.S. Army Military Police Core in Germany and Korea for seven and a half years. Afterwards he served 20 years with the Arkansas State Police and 18 years as Sheriff of Mississippi County.

"Leroy and I met in Sheriffs School," Arkansas Sheriffs' Association Executive Director Chuck Lang said. "He had already had quite an outstanding career as a state trooper. He was my boss and my mentor, and then we grew close like brothers. He played his cards real close to his vest and never complained about things, even his health. He impacted everyone in the Sheriffs' Association in a positive way. You could just mention his name and people would smile. He was loved."

"He was an excellent law enforcement officer and dear friend," Mississippi County Quorum Court Police, Fire & Safety Chairman Donnie McDaniel said. "We talked on the phone a lot while he was in office. My family asked me what we found to talk about. I told them the weather, problems, hunting and fishing and people. He drove up and down this road many times, and I think he would like knowing it was named after him."

Mississippi County Road 599 was renamed in memory of the late sheriff, Leroy Meadows.

"I looked up the definition of memorial and found it was anything that helped you remember someone," Mississippi County Sheriff James Sanders said. "We knew Leroy as a man, the myth, the legend, because we are his friends and his family. For many others here today they remember his kindness, his attention to duty, his service to the community, the state, and especially Mississippi County. This memorial is to remind all those others who he was. He may be remembered for telling his war stories, for giving good advice, or simply as the man who gave us our drivers license test."

"We will miss seeing him stand there with his arms crossed," Sanders said. "We all learned when he got real serious and took his glasses off, we had better run.

"In the future when people see the sign that reads Leroy Meadows Memorial Highway, we want them to wonder who this man was. Then we can tell them about his legacy, who and what he was and what he means to us. We can tell them that he was a friend, a father, a husband and close to each of us in a special way. We can say he lives on. Not just to be present but to touch our lives and have an impact on our lives from now on."

"Dad loved being a policeman," son Terry Cole said. "To my sons David and John this has always been 'Pop's Jail' and 'Pop's Road.' Now they can see the road sign that reminds others that this is his road as well."

Meadows' widow Vivian Meadows unveiled the sign, which read "Leroy Meadows Memorial Highway" at the close of the program.

"Yes, Leroy would like this," she said. "He would like it very much. He would flash a big smile."

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