For the first time in nearly 38 years retiring Constable John Ford stood before a crowded room of spectators without a badge pinned to his chest. One of the longest serving constables in Texas, Ford was honored in a farewell reception at the Orange County courthouse, Friday.

Local dignitaries, law enforcement personnel and elected officials joined Ford family and friends in the courtroom of Judge Joe Parkhurst to commemorate the retirement of Ford who is also the longest serving elected official in Orange County history.

Ford wiped away tears as his daughter Vicki gave emotional opening remarks before turning the podium over to her father.

Ford was philosophical and recounted many of the highs and lows of his career as a law enforcement officer. He will be replaced by his nephew, Mark Philpott, who was easily elected constable last spring.

“I have every confidence in turning over the job to Mark,” Ford said, “I think he will do as well a job or even a better job then me. And he has promised to carry on the tradition of escorting the Bridge City and Orangefield school buses to competitions.” Ford escorted the school buses to out of town events. It was not a part of the outgoing constable’s job.

Orange County Commissioner John Dubose presented Ford with a plague of appreciation.

One the table near a framed collection of outdated “Let’s Keep Ford” campaign cards was a cake that read, “Lets Keep Ford- Retired!”