Pittsylvania County leaders, community members, and law enforcement representatives gathered for a ceremony to officially rename and commemorate the “Deputy Sheriff J. Holland Thomas, Sr. Memorial Bridge,” which crosses U.S. Highway 29 along Chalk Level Road. Thomas, a longtime Deputy with the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office, died in 1956 as a result of injuries sustained in the line of duty.
“Deputy Thomas endured great pain and ultimately lost his life as a result of his courage in the line of duty,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Vic Ingram. “As County leaders, we are pleased to rename this bridge along Chalk Level Road in Thomas’ honor. The signs on this bridge will remind everyone who crosses it of the sacrifices Thomas made to protect and serve this community.”
On October 8, 1952, while attempting to arrest a man wanted for killing his employer, who supposedly owed him $18, Thomas received gunfire from a 12-gauge shotgun blast to his chest and abdomen area. Doctors were able to remove most of the pellets, but he was never able to fully recover. He retired from the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office. Thomas ultimately died as a result of an infection and internal bleeding caused by one of the fragments in 1956.
Thomas had been involved in law enforcement for 33 years.
The Board passed a resolution in July of this year requesting that the Commonwealth Transportation Board rename the bridge. The Commonwealth Transportation Board approved the request in October.
The Board of Supervisors initiated the renaming of several bridges in honor of fallen law enforcement officers this year. In August, County leaders commemorated the Trooper Henry Murray Brooks, Jr. Memorial Bridge (located in Hurt) and the Trooper Henry Noel Harmon Memorial Bridge (located in Chatham), both of which are named after Virginia State Troopers who lost lives as a result of injuries sustained on the job.