JOURDANTON, Texas -

For many years, Atascosa County Sheriff Tommy Williams and his staff have held a holiday luncheon at the Jourdanton Community Center.

On Friday, the last luncheon with Williams as sheriff took on the feeling of a farewell luncheon as friends and law enforcement officers from the area reflected on Williams' career that has spanned over 40 years.

"He's done the citizens of this county and the citizens of the state of Texas a great service for the past 40 years," said David Soward, who will succeed Williams. "There is nobody that can replace him."

Max Hartman of the Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association said Williams' law enforcement leadership is legendary.

"Fantastic individual, fantastic sheriff," Hartman said. "He's represented the state and this county very well, and he will be missed."

Williams said his law enforcement philosophy is simple.

"Just be fair and square with them," Williams said. "Take care of them when they need it, and that's what we've done."

Williams' daughter, Amber, who has followed in her father's law enforcement footsteps, perhaps summed it up best.

"He's just an icon of Atascosa County. When you think of a Texas sheriff there he is," Amber Williams said.

Williams officially leaves office Dec. 31.

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