BATAVIA — Russell Lang will leave Genesee County to live in Myrtle Beach, S.C., but not before putting in 35 years with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office.
Lang was honored Friday for his career in communications, including his time as communications coordinator. The Sheriff’s Office presented him with a certificate of appreciation and Legislator and former Sheriff Gary Maha presented him with a commendation from the Legislature.
“I’ve always said that when people dial 911, they don’t realize what goes on behind the scene and what it takes with regard to the training of the dispatchers, the emergency systems we have in place, the maintaining of those systems,” said Maha. “It was Russell’s job for a number of years — maintaining the 911 system, updating the 911 system, updating the radio system and assisting in the communication center.”
Maha said in the 35 years he’s known Russell, Russell did his job gracefully, with dedication and professionalism, since his hiring as a dispatcher in 1986.”
Lang said he was looking forward to retirement when his last shift ended at 3 p.m. Friday, but that it was a little bittersweet.
“After 35 years, you develop a lot of friendships and you have a lot of memories,” he said. “This has been my whole identity, like it is for everybody that works here for any length of time. There’s going to be many things, and especially the people, that I’m going to miss.”
Dispatchers deal with tragedy, Lang said, before mentioning a couple of fatal accidents he handled when he served in that role. “Through the years, though, there’s been real positive things,” he said. “There’s been a new radio system that we put in. That was an exciting upgrade.”
Some of the friends he made on the job are now retired, but Lang said it was a positive thing that the friendships developed at the county Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff William Sheron Jr. wished Lang the best of luck and health as Lang moved into retirement.
“He’s not only been a great partner, a working partner, but he’s been a good friend — a confidant, somebody I could sit down with and discuss personal issues and so forth,” Sheron said. “I’m really going to miss him (after) 35 years.”
Sheron said there’s an old saying about the “go-to guy.”
“When there’s problems with our radio system, Russ was the one you went to,” he said. “It didn’t matter what time of day or night it was or even if he was on vacation. Russ would pick up that phone. ‘Whatever you need, boss,’ he’d say, and he’s take care of it. He’s going to be hard to replace — a great man.”
Lang said he and his wife, Kris, will move to Myrtle Beach.
“We have some very close friends who will help us transition when we move there,” he said.
Lang said his daughter, Rebecca Lang, and son, David Lang, live and work in Jacksonville, Fla. He also has a stepdaughter, Jessica Accardi, who lives in Elba, and another stepdaughter, Laura Accardi, living in Rochester.