Goss honored as Deputy Coroner of the Year

ALL IN A DAY'S WORK

Lumpkin Chief Deputy coroner Frank Goss helped steer the local coroner's office through a very difficult time during the past couple of years.

Recently his efforts were recognized at the state level as the Ga Coroner's Association named Goss the Deputy Coroner of the Year.

"I was deeply honored to be nominated for this award by [Lumpkin County Coroner Jim Sheppard] and to receive it," said Goss.

Goss was chosen out of more than 150 deputy coroners in Georgia.

Sheppard said in his nomination of Goss that he "always went over and beyond for his community by willfully putting his caseload first."

When former coroner Ronald Fortner was convicted of felony theft by deception and violation of the oath of public office in August 2016, Goss had been on the job less than two years.

However, he stepped in and worked to make sure there was never a break in service from the coroner's office.

Sheppard said that without hesitation, Goss willingly took on the role as interim Coroner.

"During this time, Goss managed the operation and caseload without the assistance of a subordinate," Sheppard said. "He readily accepted the tasks required of him."

Sheppard added that during the transitional period, Goss exceeded all expectations in rebuilding public trust in the office of the coroner.

"Goss worked day and night single handedly to restore the Lumpkin County Coroner's office to a level of professionalism and integrity with his knowledge, skills and abilities," Sheppard added.

 

TOUGH TIMES

Keeping the doors open and the phone answered at all times wasn't an easy task for Goss, who handled the extra workload for nearly two years.

"It was tough times," he said. "I couldn't lock the door and say 'I didn't sign up for this.'"

The services provided by the coroner's office must continue, Goss said.

"I had to focus on so many different things," he added. "I worked a 24-hours a day, 7-days a week schedule to keep the doors open."

Goss said his main objective was to continue serving the families who needed him during that time.

"I thank the good Lord I was able to continue through it," he said.

Goss expressed his gratitude for the continued help he receives from Lumpkin County Emergency Services and the Sheriff's Office.

"I can't express my gratitude enough, Goss said. "They help us so . . . they are always there"

 

SWITCHING GEARS

Although relatively new to the coroner's office, Goss is no stranger to Lumpkin County, as he and his wife, Terri Goss, have called Dahlonega home for 15 years.

Goss said he retired from the Forsyth County Sheriff's Department in 2013 and that his 42-year career in Law Enforcement has given him an edge in his current job.

For example, both jobs require a good amount of investigative work.

Working with the coroner's office, Goss said he investigates calls for service to ensure there is no foul play.

In addition, he may have to use his investigative skills to figure out who is the next of kin, or even to determine the identity of a decedent.

Of course, the differences between law enforcement and being a coroner are many.

"This job is more emotionally involved," Goss said. "You get the opportunity to be more one-on-one with the families"

Being a deputy coroner is certainly not for everyone, Goss said.

"Some say you get used to it, but I never get used to sitting in front of a family who has lost a loved one and seeing the pain in their eyes," he said. 

Although all the calls for service are tough, Goss said the most challenging part of his job are the cases that involve the death of a child.

"Dealing with death is not an easy thing," Goss said.

But to keep his perspective, he likes to remember a saying that his wife's grandmother would often repeat: "In this world when you put on your shoes in the morning you never know who will be taking them off."

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