WAYNESBURG – Erik Ketchem of Waynesburg was still in high school when his father, Richard Ketchem, 64, assumed the office of Greene County sheriff. The incumbent sheriff recently announced he will not seek re-election this year for a seventh term, citing health reasons, but he plans to serve until the end of the year. The announcement prompted his son to make the decision to run for his father’s post.
“I believe now is not the time for the sheriff’s department to take a step backwards after the retirement of my father,” Ketchem, 40, said Thursday.
During the last seven years, Erik Ketchem has served as the labor foreman for the state Department of Correction’s community works department.
“We have done extensive work around Greene County and assisted the state transportation department with picking up the litter on our county roads and highways. We have also done work for the game commission around the county,” Ketchem said.
Personally, Ketchem said he has offered his services providing free labor to build handicap ramps at churches and township buildings throughout Greene County.
“It’s been a rewarding experience providing free labor to those who cannot afford to hire someone in these tough economic times,” Ketchem said. “I want to continue helping the people of this county as sheriff. I believe great things are ahead for us as a county, and a strong leader at sheriff will only benefit all of our schools and our communities in our county.”
A lifelong Greene County resident, he is the son of Nancy McNeely-Ketchem of Waynesburg. Ketchum is married to Erika Ketchem, a caseworker for Community Action Southwest. The couple have two children, Easton, 4, and Reagan, 18 months. He is also the step-father to Erika’s children, Troy Statler, 18, and Olivia Statler, 11.
He is a member of the National Rifle Association, PA State Correctional Officers’ Association, National Sheriff’s Association and First United Methodist Church of Waynesburg.
Ketchum has attended the Act 2 Deputy Training Academy, Dickinson School of Law, Waynesburg College and the Pennsylvania Department of Correction’s Training Academy in Elizabethtown. He also has worked as a Greene County deputy sheriff and for the Greene County Department of Recreation.
Ketchem joins Waynesburg Borough police Officer Bryan Tennant, who announced his candidacy for sheriff earlier this month.
The first day to circulate nominating positions for the May 21 primary is Feb. 19.