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Order in the Court

Ronald Lawhorne promoted in surprise ceremony.

— For many , it was long overdue. But in a humor-filled ceremony inside the courtroom of Chief Judge Becky Moore, Deputy Ronald Lawhorne was sworn in March 5 as a lieutenant in the Alexandria Sheriff's Department by his younger brother Sheriff Dana Lawhorne.

“I had no idea,” said Ronald Lawhorne of the surprise ceremony that officially promoted him from acting lieutenant to lieutenant in charge of judicial services and civil processes, a position that is responsible for the safety and security of the courthouse.

Commonwealth's Attorney Randy Sengal presented Ronald Lawhorne with an Oscar puppet from Sesame Street, citing his “best performance in an acting role.” Then Dana Lawhorne was asked to address the capacity-filled courtroom.

“While Ron has demonstrated to you over the last 19 years his devotion to duty and his loyalty to others, I have known about it for a very long time," Dana Lawhorne said. “There was never any doubt in my mind about his ability to carry out the duties and responsibilities as commander of the courthouse.”

Ronald Lawhorne joined the Navy after graduation from high school before embarking on a career in law enforcement.

“You may wonder sometimes where this came from, these great qualities that we all aspire to,” Dana Lawhorne said. “One would assume that his parents raised him this way, but although our father was a good man and our mother a nice lady, they were both addicted to alcohol. Needless to say we had a dysfunctional family and older brother Ron had to step in and be the parent to four younger siblings.”

Dana Lawhorne shared several stories about his childhood and credits his older brother for his own successes in life.

“People ask me all the time 'How did you turn out the way you did?'” Dana Lawhorne said. “Without hesitation, I tell them about being raised by an older brother who cared immensely about me, who always had time for me, and who always told me and showed me the right thing to do.”

With the full slate of Alexandria's judges looking on, Clerk of the Court Ed Semonian formally administered the oath to Ronald Lawhorne.

“Ron has always been my bailiff,” Moore said. “And I have always hoped that Sheriff Lawhorne would recognize how terrific and capable Ron always is.”

Ronald Lawhorne and his wife Debbie have two sons, Ron and Rick, who both attained the rank of Eagle Scout and now serve with the Prince George's County Fire Department.

“My brother spoke at my swearing-in ceremony in 2006 and he used the words the Boy Scout manual uses to describe what a Scout is,” Dana Lawhorne said. “Let me repeat them today because I believe they best describe who Ron is.

“A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent,” Dana Lawhorne continued. “I was fortunate to be taught at a very young age by someone who epitomizes what those words mean.”

Following the ceremony, Dana Lawhorne embraced his older brother.

“No matter how bad things were at home, Ron always encouraged me to make something of myself,” Dana Lawhorne said. “He never gave up on me. So while being the sheriff is great, being Ron's little brother is greater.”