Bonham fetes retiring Police Chief, Mike Bankston
By Allen Rich
Mar 26, 2023
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Bonham, Texas -- "His legacy will live on," said Mark Posey as he stepped up to give the invocation and that sentence defined the moment as a community gathered to honor a man who devoted almost half a century to public service.

Bonham Police Chief Mike Bankston is set to retire March 28, 2023 after a remarkable career that includes being the youngest sheriff in Texas at one time and ended with 47 years at Bonham Police Department and an almost unheard of 39 years as chief of police in his hometown.

"He will be greatly missed and hard to replace," stated Bonham Mayor H. Compton. "In addition to being a fine police chief, Mike is a devoted family man and a great Christian."

Bonham Mayor H. Compton

"To think that someone would give 47 years of their life to their community is amazing," echoed Bonham City Manager Sean Pate. "I have never met a person more loyal to their town."

Bonham City Manager Sean Pate

Several friends and employees took turns at the microphone to tell how Bankston had impacted their lives.

Howdy Howdeshell, City of Bonham Director of Streets, provided a little levity when he informed Bankston that most retirees get a street sign with their name on it, but due to budget cuts the retiring police chief would have to make do with a beat-up Elm Street sign.

Howdy Howdeshell shows how budget cuts have affected the city's retirement ceremonies.

As the laughter subsided, Howdeshell brought out a shiny new Bankston Blvd. sign.

And then Chief Bankston gets his personalized street sign.

Then it was the man of the hour's turn at the podium. Bankston thanked his family as he introduced them and then turned to the audience that filled Roy V. Floyd Community Center.

Mike Bankston

"I owe this community a great 'thank you' for letting me work for you," Bankston began. "I think God puts you where He wants you to be and I believe God wanted me to be in Bonham, Texas."

Presenting of the Colors by Bonham Police Department

Bonham Fire Chief Scott Ridling presents Chief Bankston with a fire bell in gratitude for Bankston's 30 years as a volunteer fireman and decade as Director of Public Safety from 1991 thru 2001.

Bonham Police Captain Wendell Bockman tells about spending 21 years working for Chief Bankston

Carl Adams recalls recommending MIke Bankston to be county sheriff when Bankston was only 26 years old.

Captain Terry Bull of Paris Police Department presents Chief Bankston with an iconic End of the Trail statue.

Chief Bankston receives a plaque and a flag that flew over the U.S. Capital from Erik Simien, Director of Constituent Outreach for US Representative, Pat Fallon.

Natalie Massey, secretary to Chief Bankston, quipped how Bankston liked to kid her, "Y'know, Natalie, of all the secretaries I've're one of 'em." "Well, of all the bosses I've had in my're the best," Massey told Bankston.

photos by Allen Rich