School raises $30,000 for Florence officers who were shot
DARLINGTON, S.C. – The Oct. 3 shooting of seven law enforcement officers hit home at Trinity-Byrnes Collegiate School.
The school’s administrative assistant, Beth Miller, is the stepmother of Florence County Sheriff’s Office investigator Sarah Miller. Miller was one of the seven officers who investigators say were shot by Frederick T. Hopkins Jr.
“We were obviously pulling for her [Sarah Miller] and for all the families, but it was just so close to home,” Head of School Ed Hoffman said.
The school raised $30,000 to present to the officers or the families of the fallen officers.
Each officer or family received $4,285 at a ceremony on Tuesday. The officers or families were also presented customized decorative cups.
“The students wanted to do something proactively that was going to be meaningful more than just a nice gesture, maybe just an honoring,” Associate Head of School Kelley Byrd said. “As you see, we have the blue ribbons out front like a lot of businesses do, and that’s wonderful. We wanted to show support and do something that is tangible.”
Beth Miller, who has worked at the school since 2012, said, “Honestly, from the time it happened, it has reinforced my faith in the human race to know that there is more good in the world than there is bad.”
The school held a “Back the Blue” fundraiser.
“So we had that and we sold T-shirts and asked for donations from our families,” Hoffman said.
Byrd added that the school held a student-led concert on Nov. 15 to raise some of the money.
Business manager Debbie Zubel said the school was continuing to collect money.
Some of the school’s classes also worked on different fundraisers.
Sgt. Terrence Carrway’s wife, Allison, received the check for her husband. Carraway was one of two officers killed in the shooting.
“It’s overwhelming, to tell you the truth,” Carraway said. “The community has come out to help us in such a major way. It was just humbling, and I’m very grateful.”
Florence County Sheriff’s Office investigator Farrah Turner’s mother, Katie Godwin, accepted the check in honor of her daughter, who died on Oct. 22 as a result of injuries she suffered from the shooting.
“Ever since Oct. 3, there has just been so much love and support,” Godwin said. “If it had not been for the love and support of the community and my family, I couldn’t have made it through. They have made it much more bearable.”
Florence Police Sgt. George Clark accepted the check on behalf of Florence Police Sgt. Scott Williamson, who continues to undergo rehabilitation at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta.
Deputy Arie Davis and Miller of the Florence County Sheriff’s Office and officers Brian Hart and Travis Scott of the Florence Police Department were on hand to receive their checks.
“It’s overwhelming,” Davis said. “We thank everybody for the support. I just want to thank everybody.”
“It means so much,” said Miller, an investigator. “A lot of times this job is pretty thankless, but when something this tragic happens, the people band together and they really show us how much they love us. It means more than words can say.”
“It means everything,” Hart said. “I mean it means everything that they’re supporting us in what we do, and we’re going to try to return the favor as much as possible by doing our jobs.”
“It’s heart-touching,” Scott said. “It’s very heart-touching. It makes you want to go back out there and put on that uniform and continue to work.”