Residents of Bridge City showed their support Friday for retired Bridge City police Maj. Joey Hargrave with signs that read “Thank You Joey.”

Hargrave, 26 years with the force, was honored with a reception from 3-7 p.m. at First Baptist Church.

As a boy running the streets of Bridge City, Hargrave had a couple of uncles in policing agencies in the Golden Triangle, so the seed for law enforcement was planted.

The Bridge City native only worked the streets for about four and half years before being assigned a juvenile officer position working closely with the local school district. This grant position allowed him to bust open sex offender cases and abuse cases involving young people.

“I’ve had kids come back to me as grown adults with their own families and thanking me for being there for them,” Hargrave said. There were countless stories of crimes diverted as a result of having a police officer role model in a young person’s life.

He’s also been able to counsel adults who were abused as children – grown men and women finally comfortable enough to speak up and get the healing they need.

Hargrave said he’d never be too far from law enforcement and may look into teaching opportunities in the future.