Group makes donation to Florence officers; crisis response team being formed

February 23, 2019

FLORENCE, S.C. – Helping Florence Flourish announced the formation of a Pee Dee Crisis Response initiative on Friday morning and donated $745 to survivors and family members of the Florence Seven.

“This is a small blessing ,” said the Rev. Chris Handley of Helping Florence Flourish and Florence First Presbyterian Church. “It’s from citizens in this community who care about you all and what’s happened to you and want to continue to encourage you and support you at this time.”

After the check presentation, he prayed with and for the members present.

The check presentation happened in the Florence City Council chambers at the Florence City Center.

On Oct. 3, three Florence County sheriff’s deputies who were serving a search warrant at a home in the Vintage Place subdivision off of Hoffmeyer Road just west of Florence came under fire from the home and were shot. Four Florence police officers responded to the scene, also came under fire and were shot.

Florence police Sgt. Terrence Carraway died that night. Florence County Sheriff’s Office investigator Farrah Turner died on Oct. 22 of injuries she suffered in the shooting. Of the other members of the Florence Seven, some have returned to duty while others continue their recovery.

“After that moment, we found ourselves in need of care in a special way,” Handley said. “Sam Turbeville, chaplain at McLeod (Health) and Florence Police Department, was really the sole local representative offering care, chaplaincy care, to our community. We didn’t have a local group that was able to help in that time of need.”

The community also received help from Billy Graham Ministries, which sent a response team to the community.

“I’m thinking the talent, training and ability we have in Florence with our citizens, why are we reaching out?” said Tommy Campbell, a retired South Carolina Highway Patrol trooper who is heading up the effort to organize the response team.

Campbell has been working with others in the community to put key people in place to start the team, which he expects to be up and running within six months.

Campbell said part of the process of building out the program will be reaching out to area agencies to get from them their requirements and then building a team that can meet the requirements.

Once the team up and running, Campbell said, it is his goal to have chaplains out in the community, on PDRTA buses, in the Christmas parade and in at least the mall during Christmas to act as messengers of peace.

The organization, he said, will also be diverse and not limited to Christian chaplains.