Editorial: Community supports wounded officers
The community continues to show its support.
Thursday evening, Walter “Shorty” Morgan and Pastor Al Shifflett hosted a fish fry at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Ridgeland in gratitude for Hardeeville Sgt. Kelvin Grant and Jasper County Sheriff’s Deputy Justin Smith.
Grant and Smith were shot responding to a domestic dispute in Hardeeville on April 20. The officers were injured and hospitalized, but they are recovering and attended the event to show their appreciation for all the love they’ve received.
Morgan, president of St. Paul United Methodist men’s club, said the meal was a small way to show the officers that the county values their service.
“We want them to know we are behind them 100 percent,” said Morgan, before dishing out hush puppies and fish. “When we have two of our peacekeepers go down, we want them to know the community loves them.”
Grant and Smith were presented plaques for their “gallantry under fire.”
We spoke to Grant and Smith, who said they’ve been overwhelmed by the county’s support.
From the bake sale fundraiser spearheaded by Thomas Heyward Academy teacher Alicia Crosby, to the letters received and get-well cards from Thomas Heyward students, Grant and Smith said the outpouring has been gratifying.
“The support from Jasper County has been really great,” Smith said.
Grant said the homemade cards from Thomas Heyward’s third- and fourth-graders were especially heartwarming. “Some of these things the kids said really brought tears to my eyes,” he said.
Said Smith: “To have the support from them, showing that their parents support us and they support us – it doesn’t come very often these days.”
Smith and Grant said they were doing their jobs when they responded to the call, but Sheriff Chris Malphrus lauded the officers’ courage, knowing there was an armed suspect in the home.
“Scary,” Malphrus said. “You guys are my heroes.”
We were pleased to be able to spend some time with the officers and listen to them talk about the support they’ve received. It was evident they sincerely appreciate all the well-wishers.
“When something like this happens, you see how much people care about you and love you. It speaks volumes,” Grant said.
We applaud the community’s willingness to support the officers, and we wish Grant and Smith a quick recovery.