UNION — Local law enforcement personnel were honored Saturday during an event in which they were served coffee and donuts and thanked for their service by the Republican candidates running for local and legislative office in Union County.
“We Back the Blue” was held from 9-11 a.m. Saturday at Sinclair Automotive on the Duncan Bypass. The event was hosted by GOP candidates Amy Austin (Union County Clerk of Court), Jeff Bailey (Union County Sheriff), Tommy Mann (SC House District 42), and David Sinclair (Union County Council District 3), the owner of Sinclair Automotive.
In a statement released Monday, Mann said that the event was inspired by recent attacks against law enforcement personnel across the country. Mann said the purpose of the event was to thank law enforcement personnel for their efforts to serve and protect the community and its residents. He told those attending Saturday’s event that he respects law enforcement personnel, pointing out that several of his immediate family are in law enforcement, and adding that he has a very simple reason for giving back to those who serve and protect.
“A cup of coffee, a donut, and a pat on the back is the least we can do,” Mann said. “We want them to know that, if elected, we will continue to have their back through our respective offices, and we appreciate what they do to keep us safe.”
Saturday’s event was the second one Mann participated in this past weekend honoring law enforcement. District 42 includes part of Laurens County and Mann said he partnered Friday with the Laurens County Tea Party to serve lunch to the Clinton Police Department.
For her part, Austin said that the coffee and donuts served to law enforcement Saturday “could never repay them for what they do on a daily basis to keep us safe. I pray every day that they return home safe to their families.”
Sinclair also offered his thanks to law enforcement.
“On behalf of the employees of David Sinclair Automotive and my family, I would like to send out a special thanks to all law enforcement officers of Union County for providing us a safe and friendly environment,” Sinclair said.
Bailey echoed those sentiments, adding, “I enjoyed greeting our law enforcement officers, and their work is greatly appreciated.”
Mann said that the event also drew members of the general public who attended to express their gratitude for law enforcement. He said the event also drew the support of Walmart’s bakery which donated the donuts that were served.
Among the law enforcement personnel attending Saturday’s event was Union County Sheriff David Taylor who Mann said thanked the group for the gesture, noting that residents of Union County are generally positive when it comes to interacting with law enforcement.
“There are advantages to living in a small county,” Taylor said. “We may not have a Belk anymore, but we also don’t have much violent crime.”
We Back the Blue comes a little over a week after the “Union County Unity Rally” which was held on the evening of July 15 on the steps of the Union County Courthouse. Just as We Back the Blue was held in response to recent events involving the shooting of police officers around the country, the Union County Unity Rally was held in response to shooting events around the country in places like Minnesota, Louisiana, and Dallas, Texas and the ensuing racial unrest stemming from those incidents.
The theme of the rally was “Unity and Hope Among All,” which was emphasized throughout the rally by the clergymen who delivered the main addresses — Mann, pastor of Putman Baptist Church, and the Rev. James Mason, Moderator of the Pacolet River Baptist Association — and the members of the clergy and others who lead those in attendance in prayer — Rev. Brad Goodale of Philippi Baptist Church, Rev. A.L. Brackett of St. Paul Baptist Church, and Lakesha McKissick, Director of Impressions Outreach. The message of the rally was that regardless of skin color all human beings are created equal in the image of God who loves each and every one of His children and wants them to love one another as He loves them.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.