For a fiscally conservative Republican Guilford County commissioner on a board full of spend-happy Democrats, Commissioner Justin Conrad sure did get a whole lot of love this week.

From the comments the Democrats made about Conrad at the Monday, Dec. 5 meeting when Conrad stepped down as a commissioner, you would have thought they had been in agreement with Conrad on all matters for years.

Democratic and Republican Commissioners alike spoke of Conrad’s contributions over the last eight years of service on the board.

Guilford County Commissioner Carlvena Foster, whose seat at the dais was next to Conrad’s, spoke of what a friend Conrad had been to her.  She said the two hit it off right away and have been good friends and “seatmates” ever since.

“You have championed many causes that have enhanced the lives of citizens across Guilford County,” Foster told Conrad at the special morning meeting where Conrad stepped down, and his replacement, new District 3 County Commissioner Pat Tillman, was sworn in.

“Even though you’ll still be around, I’m going to miss you,” Foster added.

Several commissioners pointed out Conrad’s immense contributions when it came to turning around the county’s animal shelter operations several years ago.  In 2015, there was a huge animal mistreatment scandal at the shelter and the shelter operations job got passed around like a hot potato to county administrators.  Nothing seemed to work until Conrad took the lead on finding a new director.  He did research, went out on his own and found Jorge Ortega – and then played a big part in convincing Ortega to come work as the Guilford County Animal Service’s director.

Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston said a lot of people don’t realize the tremendous service Conrad has provided to Guilford County.

“Thank you Justin for something that a lot of people are not aware of,” Alston said. “I personally want to thank you for providing meals to a lot of people in the East Greensboro community when the tornado hit four years ago.  You didn’t ask for the recognition, but you deserve it.  And I want you to know that the citizens of East Greensboro really appreciated what you have done for them.”

Some of the biggest compliments came from Tillman.  Tillman said that he now had some big shoes to fill and joked that, even though he wore a size 12, he was unlikely to fill the shoes.

Tillman said, “It’s almost like, ‘Who’s the guy that came after Michael Jordan?’ – well, I don’t know who he was, but if I can make half of the impact you have made in this community, I will be very happy,”