‘He’s a fighter’: Floyd County Clerk battling cancer surprises coworkers with visit

Published: Sep. 25, 2020 at 5:10 PM EDT
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PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - For more than 20 years, Chris Waugh has worked as the Floyd County Clerk. For the last six months, he has been out of the state working on a battle of his own.

“For six months he has not been here. Nobody has seen him. He’s been absent, going through these treatments,” said Sheriff John Hunt.

Waugh was diagnosed with cancer and is now battling the illness for a second time.

“He still got a little road to fight. To go down. But we’re with him. His staff, he’s got a wonderful staff that support him and love him,” said Hunt. “He’s older than me, but his family and my family were real close. And when I took office, obviously Chris has been my mentor. He has guided me he’s advised me and he has made me, I mean, gee, a much better servant by watching him.”

His co-workers say he is the reason their crew is so close and that he deserves the credit for the way the clerk’s office runs, which is why they have worked even harder to keep operations smooth in his absence.

“He’s been gone for way too long dealing with stuff that a lot of us probably couldn’t handle," said Director of Operations Matt Lafferty.

Wednesday, during an election planning meeting, the staff was surprised to see Waugh face-to-face for the first time in months.

After working behind the scenes with Lafferty, Waugh surprised Sheriff Hunt by showing up unannounced. He then worked with Lafferty and Hunt to dress as an inmate before setting up a scheme to crash the election planning meeting.

Hunt interrupted the meeting to announce that an inmate was loose and possibly in the building. After a few minutes, two deputies brought the “inmate” in, unmasking Waugh as the room began to applaud.

“He’s good to us, he’s good to the community, he’s good to his family. He serves God and he never changes. He’s been like that since the day I met him and I guarantee you he’ll be like that until the day he dies. That’s just how he is," said Lafferty. "For me and everybody else on the staff, we were just so glad to have him back.”

Though the visit was temporary, Lafferty said the office is standing behind Waugh in his fight, saying they are keeping his office in order for his return.

“The caliber of person he is: he’s a fighter. He’s one of the best individuals I’ve ever seen in my life," Lafferty said.

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