A nearly three-month wait for Vickie Cheek ended Monday when she received a letter from South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster confirming her appointment as Laurens County Coroner.
With the executive order from McMaster, Cheek will complete the unexpired term of former coroner Nick Nicholls, who died suddenly in December. The order was signed by McMaster and witnessed by Secretary of State Mark Hammond.
Cheek had served under Nichols as deputy and then chief deputy coroner for 19 years prior to taking over the office on an interim basis. She was recommended as Nichols’ interim replacement by the local delegation.
“I am honored to be appointed as coroner for the remainder of the year,” said Cheek. “For the past 19 years I have had the honor of working under Mr. Nichols’ leadership and have been blessed with the duty and privilege of assisting those at a most difficult time in their lives, the loss of a loved one. Whether one passes in the company of family and friends or alone, our decedents deserve the dignified treatment of a coroner. I have always considered working in the coroner’s office God’s calling in my life and will continue to serve Laurens County citizens with integrity, honor and compassion.”
After recommending Cheek along with the rest of the local delegation, Rep. Mark Willis (R-Fountain Inn) said he expected the recommendation to be signed off by McMaster in around two weeks.
But the Christmas and New Year’s holidays immediately followed in Columbia and changes to McMaster’s staff reportedly delayed the final approval from the governor’s office from a couple of weeks to more than two months.
“I want to thank Gov. Henry McMaster and the delegates, the Nichols family and everyone that has given me encouragement, support and prayers over the past few weeks,” Cheek said. “I appreciate this opportunity and will focus my energy on serving our community well and carrying on the legacy of high standards Mr. Nichols left behind.”
Nichols’ term was to have expired following the November General Election. Filing for candidates seeking office in November opens March 15, and Cheek is expected to run for office for the first time.
Cheek is to be sworn into office at the March 10 meeting of the Laurens County Council.