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Retired Hubbard County Sheriff Gary Mills is honored

Retired Hubbard County Sheriff Gary Mills poses by a cake with his likeness at a retirement party Wednesday afternoon.

There were tears and hugs for former Hubbard County Sheriff Gary Mills Wednesday afternoon as dozens of well-wishers came to see him off into retirement.

Mills, still on crutches after two recent hip surgeries, greeted fellow cops, EMTs, and county residents who came to thank him for his 10 years of service at a reception in his honor.

"He was there when I needed him," said seasonal resident Janie Harris. She told Mills she was glad he got his hip replaced a second time and told him she'd be there if needed.

Retired Becker County Sheriff Clarence Paurus gave Mills the biggest hug. The two men went to rookie training together in the Twin Cities 35 years ago.

Paurus, who'd been a deputy 15 years by the time he received his formal training, said the men formed a lifelong bond.

"If you ever needed anything from this (Hubbard) county, you called on Gary," he said. "I wouldn't miss this day."