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Businesses raising money for officers who were shot in Florence

October 10, 2018

FLORENCE, S.C. — Businesses are showing their support for law enforcement by offering special deals and promotions to benefit Florence police officers and their families following last week’s officer shootings.

A week ago today, a Florence officer was killed and six others were wounded in the Vintage Place subdivision.

To show their support of the victims and their families, several Florence businesses are reaching out to help those affected.

King Jefe, at 134 S. Irby St., is offering a special cocktail called “The Blue and the Brave.” All of the proceeds will go to the families of the officers affected.

Kyle Hardee, co-owner of King Jefe, said the restaurant already has sold 154 of the special drinks, raising more than $1,500 for the victims and their families.

“As a restaurant owner, you kind of have to have a servant’s heart,” Hardee said. “Couple that with our feelings of community and deep respect for all law enforcement, and it became the obvious thing to do. This tragedy broke my heart, and it helps me to put my energy into helping others. Seems to ease my soul.”

“I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that the good folks at Mickey Finns donated the tequila to be made as well,” Hardee said. “This was a total team effort across the board.”

Tomlinson’s Wholesale Warehouse sold out of its first shipment of “Thin Blue Line” flags, which the company was offering below cost. The business got a new shipment Tuesday and is selling a garden flag for $3 and a house flag for $5. The flags are designed like the American flag but are black and white with a single blue stripe through the middle.

“When the tragedy in Florence happened last Wednesday, I was devastated,” said Andrew Cannon of Tomlinson Sales Company. “Becasue I’m in retail, I have the opportunity to have interactions with both the c ity of Florence Police Department and the Florence County Sheriff’s Office on a somewhat regular basis. Without question, each and every one of these great men and women that I have met have been so kind, professional and helpful. I’ve met them up here at 3 a.m. after someone is trying to break into the store, and I’ve talked with them when they are off duty buying a T-shirt. No matter the circumstance, these men and women are truly Florence’s finest, and I am very proud to know many of them.”

Cannon said that after hearing about the shooting, his mind immediately went to looking for ways that the company could help.

“Our main goal in selling these was to see them all over town — so to that point we are actually selling these at below our cost,” Cannon said. “It has been so encouraging to see these flags (both from Tomlinson’s and from other stores) flying all over town. It’s been a tough month for South Carolina, and especially Florence. But it is encouraging to see everyone come together and unite in support of our law enforcement. Nothing would make me happier than to see one of these flags flying from every home in Florence.”

Both Jumpin J’s, at 898 S. Irby St., and Starbucks, at 1933 W. Palmetto St., are offering free items to law enforcement officers until Oct. 18 as part of the “Go Blue for Florence” campaign.

Jumpin J’s will be giving free meals to officers, and Starbucks is offering complimentary drinks and coffee for all law enforcement officers. To redeem the offers, an officer must be in uniform or present his or her badge.

Sondra Wallace Hanley, of Jumpin J’s, said the shooting struck very close to home.

“The owner of Jumpin J’s is Keith Hanley,” Hanley said. “He was a city police officer for 10 years before buying the restaurant. We now employee Rebecca Gowdy, Legrande Gowdy’s daughter, who is also a retired police officer. Jumpin J’s has served law enforcement every day for many years, and by working with them, we built a relationship with Terrence [Carraway] and many other officers in our area.”

Police Sgt. Terrence Carraway died after the shooting.

Hanley said the business will also be changing the name of a popular drink item on the menu: “The Clarinet” will now be called “The Carraway” as a way to remember the officer’s legacy.

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