The University of West Georgia strives to develop and maintain deep, meaningful connections and partnerships in the community it serves and beyond. When the university’s ceremonial mace was damaged during its last commencement ceremony, a local hero from that community was called upon to revive and restore it.
Today, during UWG’s Spring Commencement, the mace was proudly displayed, and the man who made it possible – Carroll County Sheriff’s Office Dep. Jay Repetto – was recognized for his work and service as UWG recognized National Police Week.
“Dep. Repetto, you have our immense gratitude – not only for enhancing our Commencement mace, but especially for your courage, sacrifice, and decades of service to protect our community,” said UWG President Dr. Brendan B. Kelly during Repetto’s recognition.
Repetto has been a law enforcement officer for 42 years, having served as a deputy with the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office since 2018. As a soldier’s son, protecting and serving is in his blood.
On the night of April 12, 2021, Repetto was on patrol when a multi-department high-speed chase ensued. He jumped into action and by the time it was over, he and two fellow officers – Carrollton Police Department Sgt. Rob Holloway and Villa Rica Police Department Ofc. Chase Gordy – were wounded by gunfire. Fortunately, all three survived and continue to recover and thrive.
While home recovering from his wounds, Repetto’s wife suggested he try something new, something that would be therapeutic.
“I’ve always liked woodworking,” he said. “I had a little building I bought a few years back, so I decided to turn that into a woodshop. I bought a lathe and some other equipment, and began producing several different things.”
Repetto, whose woodworking experience was formerly limited to a shop class in high school, discovered he had a natural talent for it. As his skills grew, so did his love of the craft. Before long, he opened Repetto Woodcraft, offering handmade wood products for sale.
When UWG began seeking the help of a craftsman to revive its damaged mace, Repetto responded to the call.
“I was more than happy to help when they asked me about repairing the mace,” he said. “I was able to salvage it to a degree, and then I produced and replicated the other components from cherry wood.”
During the Middle Ages, the mace was a weapon used in battle, but as newer and more powerful military arms developed, it was adopted by academia as a symbol of the power of ideas, truth and wisdom. For UWG, it symbolizes the unity and aspirations of the institution.
Repetto offered words of wisdom for graduating UWG students considering a career in law enforcement.
“If you do it, do it because you want to make a difference in people’s lives,” he said. “Always be a voice for others for the right reasons.”