3 qualify in race for county coroner
by Rachel Davis
Feb 08, 2014 | 2197 views | 0 0 comments | 54 54 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Two Republicans will compete in June for a spot on the ballot this fall. Mark Pendley and Joey Vick will vie for the Republican nomination to face Democrat Jeff Nelson in November.

Pendley has worked for the Walker County Sheriff’s Office for the past six years and has been a volunteer firefighter for 30 years. He is currently the assistant chief of the Saragossa Fire Department. His experience as a certified firefighter inspired him to run for coroner.

“When there is a death in the field, the local firefighters are usually the first on the scene, be it the death of an elderly individual or a bad wreck where a person lost their life, being the first on that scene means they must also be able to comfort and console the grieving family members,” Pendley explained.

He also said he couldn’t make a lot of promises, but would assure the citizens of three things if he were elected: respect for the deceased and family members, compassion for the family members and dedication to the job and the people of Walker County.

He has been married to Michelle Pendley for almost 16 years and they have four children. He is originally from Pineywoods and served four years in the United States Air Force.

Vick, who served as Walker County Coroner from 2002 to 2008 when he resigned to take over as pastor of Nauvoo Church of God, is seeking the position of coroner again.

At the time, Vick was concerned that his pastor duties would interfere with his coroner duties, but he now believes he can handle both jobs.

“I am very confident I can fulfill the responsibilities of the office of coroner while pastoring my church,” Vick said.

Vick said his 17 years of law enforcement experience is a vital part of the coroner’s responsibilities, enabling a coroner to make decisions about the circumstances of a death and when they warrant further investigation. He also believes his position as pastor gives him a unique perspective and the compassion to help those struggling with the death of a loved one.

“I just felt like it was an opportunity for me to get back into the coroner’s office so I could help people, because that’s what it’s all about,” Vick said.

Nelson has been a firefighter with Thach Volunteer Fire Department for 12 years and has 25 years of emergency management experience. He is also the Beat 44 constable, a member of the Alabama State Constables Association and the Walker County Constables Association and co-captain of the Manchester Neighborhood Watch. He is currently employed with the Walker County Board of Education as a bus driver and substitute teacher.

Nelson said he has devoted his life to serving his community and hopes to be able to continue that service as coroner.

“I feel I have the know-how to deal delicately and courteously with the family of the deceased,” Nelson said. “I feel this is a way I can serve the public in a greater capacity.”