It was the happiest day of Vickie Bishop's professional life. And her most nerve racking.
On May 18, 2004, Fulton County voters overwhelmingly chose Bishop to replace her retiring boss, Gene Maguffey, as Fulton County clerk.
The pinnacle of her professional life was in private a sad day for her too.
"Gene was a wonderful boss and I miss him," Bishop said. "I just hope I will be able to do this job as well as he did."
Bishop, who took office Jan. 1, said the transition from deputy clerk to county clerk has been smooth.
She said the hardest part of her new job has been reorganizing the office and training each person to do their new jobs.
"Kathleen (Walling), Amy (Abney) and Vanita (Harris) have been wonderful," Bishop said.
Walling, who has worked in the clerk's office since 1992, replaced Bishop as the deputy clerk. Abney was hired to replace Walling and Harris works in the office part time.
Bishop said she was shocked when Maguffey told her he would not seek re-election last year after serving as clerk for over 30 years.
"I just thought Gene would be here forever," Bishop said.
She said she agreed to run if Walling, who was contemplating retirement at the end of 2004, would stay. Walling promised to stay and Bishop became the first woman ever elected as Fulton County's top clerk.
"Hopefully, Kathleen will stay here as long as I do," Bishop said with a laugh.
Had she not been elected, Bishop would have found a different job. She said the prospect of training a new clerk did not appeal to her.
Besides the usual tasks in the clerk's office -- issuing marriage licenses, filing property deeds, court filings, accounts payable -- Bishop is trying to update the county's voter registration roles.
Bishop began working in the clerk's office after she graduated from high school. She had served as a deputy clerk under Maguffey since 1978.
"I thought about going to college," Bishop said. "But I got the opportunity to work in the clerk's office and I took it."
Bishop, a lifelong resident of Fulton County, said she has never regretted her decision to serve.
"I've had so many wonderful memories in this place," Bishop said. "We're just like a family around here."
Bishop's other family includes includes her husband, Dwayne, son, C.J., daughter-in-law, Lucinda, and daughter, Tesa.
Dwayne owns and operates Bishop Dozing.
C.J. is a farmer and Tesa is a sophomore at Williams Baptist College in Walnut Ridge.
Bishop said she will run again in 2006.
"It's an honor to serve the people in Fulton County and I'm proud they chose me for this job," Bishop said.