Former Cherokee County Commissioner J.J. Biello, who died on Sunday, will be remembered at a public memorial service in Canton on Aug. 8, officials said Friday.
The memorial is 8:30 a.m. Aug. 8 at Rotary Park next to the historic courthouse in Canton, although Cherokee County Commission Chairman Harry Johnston said many of the specific details are still being worked out.
Deputy Fire Chief Eddie Robinson added that the Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services is working on getting one of its ladder trucks with a flag to be hung from the basket for the gathering, while trying to get a color guard put together consisting of firefighters and officials from the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office and having the fire department’s bagpiper close out the gathering.
“We are always honored to participate in a service for a veteran, whether they served in the military, law enforcement or as a firefighter,” Robinson said.
Robinson went on to explain that he knew Biello in a professional capacity, stating that Biello was always in support of the fire department and was a major asset through much of Cherokee County’s more recent growth.
“I have a high level of respect for him,” Robinson said.
Anyone who may have known Biello and wants to remember what he may have meant to them is invited to come out and share in the gathering, Johnston said.
“We have room for a good crowd,” Johnston said. “Whether it’s 10 people or 200, we mainly want people to come and gather.”
Johnston said one of the reasons he and others began planning the memorial was that Biello himself requested not to have a funeral, but that there are many in the community who wanted to gather and honor him and his service.
“People are interested,” Johnston said. “He evokes a lot of emotions. I know it’s been said a lot, but he seemed bigger than life.”
Biello served 14 years as a Cherokee County commissioner and was an advocate for expanding public recreational opportunities. Prior to his elected public service, he had been an Atlanta police detective and was shot by an armed robber in 1987, an injury that led to paralysis that required him to use a wheelchair the rest of his life.