Eppes honored for service

Published 4:19 pm Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Machelle Eppes, the first African-American Prince Edward County Circuit Court Clerk, was honored by county representatives and friends for her more than decade of service during a celebration of her retirement Saturday.

The celebration took place at the Firemen’s Arena.

Eppes retired April 1. Deputy Circuit Court Clerk, Lynette Coe, is currently serving in the position.

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House Joint Resolution No. 277, passed by the House and Senate in the Virginia General Assembly, noted that Eppes was a graduate of Central High School in Lunenburg County and was hired as deputy clerk in Prince Edward in 1988, later serving as deputy clerk of the Lunenburg County Circuit Court.

“Desirous to be of further service to the Commonwealth, Machelle Eppes ran for and was elected as clerk of the Prince Edward Circuit Court on April 18, 2005,” the resolution read.

The resolution read, “Eppes served Prince Edward County with the utmost integrity and dedication, earning the respect and admiration of her colleagues, to whom she leaves a legacy of excellence.”

During the ceremony, the gospel group Voices of Unity performed. The ceremony was followed by a banquet and dinner.

Prince Edward County Commonwealth’s Attorney Megan Clark, who also served as master of ceremonies, said Eppes made a profound impact on her and everyone who knows her.

“Machelle is the type of person that you would never, ever know that she was ever having a bad day,” Clark said. “She greets everyone with a smile on her face. She treats everyone with dignity and respect, even though they may not have treated her that way.”

Prince Edward County Judge Donald Blessing spoke and presented Eppes with a resolution from the 10th judicial circuit and a letter from Karl R. Hade, who occupies the Virginia Office of the Executive Secretary.

The resolution and letter noted that during Eppes’ service, all records were converted to electronic formats and that she will be missed by the county and her co-workers.

“Ms. Eppes is super,” Blessing said about Eppes. “She is polite, kind, (and) whether she wanted to or not, she became my friend … She’s been a wonderful clerk.”

“Thank you for your hard work, and dedication to the judicial system and to the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia,” the letter from Hade read. “Your contributions throughout the years made a significant impact and a lasting impression on the judiciary.”

The Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors Chair Pattie-Cooper Jones, Hampden District Supervisor Dr. Odessa Pride and Vice Chair Jim Wilck presented Eppes with a plaque honoring her for her service.

Larry Winkler noted Eppes is the first African-American Circuit Court Clerk with Prince Edward, and expressed pride for Eppes’ contribution on behalf of her family, having family members stand.

“Machelle, your family loves you and we are so proud of you,” Winkler said. “God has brought you through the hard times and the good times, and he will always walk with you.”

Lynette Coe, with several employees with the clerk’s office, came forward to honor Eppes.

“This is a bittersweet moment for us,” Coe said, noting that she and the other employees were commonly nicknamed “Machelle’s Girls. “You have provided leadership and dedication to the citizens of this county and you’ve always gone above and beyond.”

“You have spent every day inspiring us, guiding us and praying for us,” Coe said.

Becoming emotional, Eppes thanked members of the audience, county residents and co-workers for their support.

“I have been so blessed and filled with so much joy to have been your circuit court clerk,” Eppes said.