XENIA — It’s a good thing William Harden likes hats because he has worn many throughout his long and varied career — literally.
He recently was honored by the Ohio State Coroners Association as “Investigator of the Year.” This inaugural award was presented last week in Cincinnati at the Ohio State Coroners Association conference.
According to Greene County Coroner Dr. Kevin Sharrett, Harden was completely surprised by the honor as organizers deliberately kept him in the dark.
“He was nominated for the award by his fellow investigators for exhibiting outstanding leadership,” said Sharrett. “He was selected for not only what he does locally in Greene County, but for what he does at the state level, like helping train other investigators. He has provided outstanding service to the community at large, it’s a very big honor.”
Sharrett added that Harden’s 16 years at the Coroner’s Office can be summed up in one word: Service.
“He brings comfort to those who are suffering while performing his duties at the highest level of proficiency. Greene County has definitely been made a better place because Bill Harden has answered the call to be the salt and the light that God has called him to be,” Sharrett said.
Harden has served in the Air Force and spent 30 years at the Greene County Sheriff’s Office. He retired as a major overseeing the Corrections Division and criminal investigations and is still recognized as the official chaplain for the GCSO. The last six years of his 16-year tenure at the coroner’s office he as served as office administrator.
“I followed in his footsteps in the sheriff’s office and he was my major for years. He’s still a special detective for the sheriff’s office,” said Major Kirk Keller, jail administrator. “Bill’s strength as a supervisor and as an administrator is how much he cares for people. He manages well and cares just as deeply for the people he works with and the citizens of Greene County that he services.”
Harden also serves as associate pastor at Glory Ministries Church.
“Bill lives his faith each and every day by putting the needs of others above self,” said Sharrett, who oversees a staff of three investigators and a secretary. “There’s roughly 1,000 deaths that occur a year in Greene County, roughly 300 death calls a year. Each is investigated thoroughly. A little over 100 a year receive a full forensic autopsy. We take all of our forensic autopsies to Montgomery County.”
Sharrett said Harden responds to the calls and follows the case until completion and added that the GCCO’s establishes the cause, manner, and mode of death for any unexplained death in the county covering five manners of death — natural, accidental, suicidal, homicidal, and undetermined.
Reach Karen Rase at 937-502-4534.