BUCKHANNON — In an emotional swearing-in ceremony Wednesday, newly appointed Upshur County Sheriff Mike Coffman took a ceremonial oath of office in front of a packed courtroom full of his deputies, family members, friends, local governmental officials and prominent business leaders.
Family members of his predecessor, the late longtime sheriff Virgil Miller, came to support Coffman, who held back tears as he paid tribute to Miller, the longest-serving active sheriff in the Mountain State when he passed away unexpectedly last week.
Twenty-sixth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Kurt Hall administered the oath of office at 11:45 in the Upshur County Circuit Courtroom to Coffman, who delivered brief remarks immediately after.
“This isn’t the way I wanted this to happen at all,” said Coffman, who had served as Miller’s chief deputy since he was elected in 2020. “I want to thank the family for being here.”
Coffman said he had found a close friend and a wonderful, wise mentor in Miller.
“Over these past two years, I’ve had a great mentor,” Coffman said. “I had worked with Virgil before, but especially over these past two years, he gave me some freedom and let me make some decisions.”
“Sometimes, I would come back to him with what I thought, and he would say, ‘That sounds good,’ and other times, he would say, ‘Well, let’s sleep on it,’ and I always knew with that meant,” Coffman said, smiling. “When I make decisions, I’m still going to run it by him up there.”
A special luncheon took place immediately following the ceremony.