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In Remembrance

 The love and support that has been shown to the families of Councilwoman Karen Barnett and Officer Joe Burson over the past several weeks has been nothing short of incredible. We are grateful to our neighbors — those in our backyard and those across the nation — who have reached out to offer their condolences and asked what they could do to fill any needs.

Councilwoman Barnett served the citizens of Holly Springs since 2005. During the first Council meeting after her passing, her absence was heavy.

While offering his invocation, Mayor Pro Tem Michael R. Zenchuk said, "Thank you for lending the City of Holly Springs your kind and gracious servant Karen Barnett."

At the time, Mayor Pro Tem Zenchuk was specifically talking about Councilwoman Barnett, but the same words hold true for late Officer Joe Burson. At press time, the news of Officer Burson's passing was just days old, but we do indeed offer thanks for the time Officer Burson was with the Holly Springs Police Department.

Both Barnett and Burson were exactly the type of people who make Holly Springs special. Barnett was passionate about parks and insisted that the desires of the citizens be the No. 1 priority when the Council decided to purchase the Cagle Family Farm property on Stringer Road for future park use. She loved the Holly Springs Police Department. Did you know that for years on Christmas Day, she invited the on-duty police officers to her home for Christmas dinner? Her family shared story after story just like this one. The details were different, but the sentiment was the same. Barnett loved to take care of people.

Officer Joe Burson, tragically killed in the line of duty in June, came to the Holly Springs Police Department in November 2019. Chief Tommy Keheley described him as the kind of officer that all chiefs would want to clone. According to Chief Keheley, Burson was a quick thinker with good judgement. He was known for making time to talk with children who were interested in seeing inside his patrol car, letting them turn on the blue lights, and answering all their questions. He also encouraged his fellow officers. Countless people have simply described him as, "one of the good ones."

Karen Barnett and Joe Burson will not be forgotten. Their contributions to our community will have a lasting impact, far beyond what we can imagine in our time of sorrow. We mourn their passing, but we rejoice in the precious time we had with them.

If you would like to make a financial contribution to the family of Officer Burson, please visit You can also mail a check to the Friends of Holly Springs Police Foundation at PO Box 1066, Holly Springs, GA 30142 or make a deposit to the Friends of Holly Springs Police Foundation at South State Bank (1925 Marietta Highway, Canton).
“Whatever you are, try to be a good one.” ~ Will...
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