By Becky Jane Newbold,
The Lewis County citizen voted Best Man in 2019 is Larry Hensley. A Lewis County Commissioner and former sheriff, he prides himself on commitment. Whether it be to his work, family, faith or himself, faithfulness describes him well.
And being on time is of utmost importance. “I never liked to be late for work and I sure don’t like to be late for church,” he said during a recent interview.
Larry married Sandra “Sandy” in August of 1966 just one year after high school graduation. The couple met at church while she was visiting church with her sister. Today, they still attend the Sanctuary Pentecostal Church where they met. In their 52 years of life together, they have been blessed with two boys, Barry and Michael Hensley, and one girl, Robin Thomas.
Hensley has been a resident of Lewis County, Tennessee since third grade, he commented, during our interview. Graduating from Lewis County High School in 1965, he then attended Columbia State Community College briefly before beginning work at Lewis Products, a job he continued until 1977.
He began working for the City of Hohenwald’s water and gas department in 1977. By 1980, he was a part time patrolman with the City Police Department, part time school bus driver and also worked for the funeral home, he said with a grin. Doing what it took to make ends meet for his growing family.
In 1986, completion of requirements at the Tennessee police academy meant he could work full time for the local police department. The work paid off, as in 1990, Larry Hensley was elected sheriff of Lewis County.
When asked about his most memorable times in law enforcement, Hensley spoke of the times he responded to murder scenes or suicides. And then there was the time he was on the receiving end of the bullet.
As sheriff, he and two other officers responded to a shoplifting call at the Hohenwald Wal Mart store. He remembers the night well.
Knowing the suspect, the three went to his home. As they approached, a shotgun blast sounded, knocking Sheriff Hensley to the ground. The sheriff was sent by air ambulance to a Nashville hospital.
“It’s a miracle he lived, but he got over it,” Sandy told during our interview. “He’s tough, I guess.”
In 1994, Hensley lost the sheriff’s race to current Sheriff Dwayne Kilpatrick, but returned to law enforcement under then Mayor Guy Nicholson with the City of Hohenwald. He retired with the rank of sergeant in 2007.
Larry Hensley respected his position as a law enforcement officer and to this day he says he misses his job. Everyday his clothes were pressed and his shoes shined, he explained.
“I always took my job seriously.” And he and Sandy still listen to the scanner to keep up.
“He was the only person I know who loved to go to work,” Sandy added.
Still contributing to his community, Larry is serving in his second term as Lewis County Commissioner for the third district and is a board member for the Selective Service. “I just love this county and want to do what’s best for the people,” he stated.
In his spare time, Larry likes to go camping with his bride and to play golf. And there is one more thing.
“He does a lot of talking to people. We spend a long time in Wal Mart visiting.”
“She says I talk more than a woman,” he said with a twinkle in his eye and a chuckle.
Larry Hensley is a kind hearted person, quick to smile and genuinely interested in making Lewis County a better place. It was easy to understand after our interview why he was voted Lewis County’s Best Man for 2019.