Jessica Thorn was named Faulkner County Coroner on Nov. 21 to replace her mentor Pat Moore, who had been the coroner for more than 28 years when he died in September.
"It’s been about a week. We’re getting into the swing of things," Thorn told the Log Cabin Democrat on Friday. "It’s been busy but it’s going good."
Thorn has been with the coroner’s office for seven years and was Moore’s first full-time hire.
"Pat didn’t get any full-time positions until a couple of years ago," she said. "I was his first full-time employee. It meant the world to me. It’s always been my dream to be the coroner. It’s my passion to serve these people during the worst time of their lives."
Prior to working full time in the coroner’s office, Thorn spent more than a decade as a funeral director, working seven years at Roller-McNutt Funeral Homes in Conway and Greenbrier and then around four years at Bishop-Cripes Funeral Home in Greenbrier.
She said her time as funeral director helped prepare her to be coroner.
"It helps me know how to respond to families while they are grieving," she said. "I did death certificates at the funeral homes," which she has also done at the coroner’s office.
Thorn said Moore had been grooming her for the coroner’s position, and that she’s "honored and humbled to be able to fulfill his role."
"He was always teaching. He taught me so much. He told me you’re just like a sponge — you soak up everything."
She said although she doesn’t think she can ever fully fill Moore’s shoes, she plans to do her best to continue his legacy.
"I know what his expectations of me were," she said. "I know I’ll never be as good as he was but I want to do everything I can to make him proud. That’s my drive every day."