Darlington honors Carraway with new park
By Samantha Lyles
On Thursday, Jan. 30, Darlington celebrated the official opening of a new city park named in honor of fallen police officer Sgt. Terrence Carraway with a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by Carraway’s family and friends.
While kids enjoyed the sunshine and swing sets at the Magnolia Street park (which features playground equipment and a basketball court), guest speakers shared memories of Carraway.
Andrews, who began his remarks by noting that former Mayor of Darlington Gloria Hines had in 2016 prioritizedestablishing a safe, modern public park for children living in the Magnolia Street neighborhood near the revitalized Virgil Wells football stadium.
Andrews said the park had been planned for some time, but the idea to name it after Carraway – who died Oct. 3, 2018, in the Vintage Place shooting incident that wounded seven officers and killed two seemed fitting, since Carraway regularly mentored kids and coached recreation department youth sports teams.
“The purpose of this park is exactly what you see behind you,” said Andrews, pointing to several children playing on swings and chasing each other across a spacious, fenced lawn. “For kids in this neighborhood and all over Darlington to come out and enjoy it, to have a safe place to play and be out of the road.”
Funding for the park was augmented by a PARD (Parks, Recreation and Tourism Development) grant secured by Sen. Gerald Malloy. This additional money went toward building a full-size basketball court for all to enjoy.
Other speakers included Darlington Area Recreation director Brantley Jett, Dr. Cecil Bromell of Macedonia Missionary Baptist (Carraway’s church), Darlington Mayor Curtis Boyd, Darlington City Council member Elaine Reed, Darlington Police Chief Kelvin Washington, family friend Cisco Reed and Carraway’s brother Daniel Blathers.
Mayor Boyd said the city aims to build more parks for residents to visit, for families to gather, for children to enjoy, because “that’s what Terrence would love to see.”
Boyd added a plea for park visitors to be responsible citizens and clean up after their visits so city parks remain beautiful and welcoming for everyone.
Boyd also spoke of a recent day when he and his son were playing basketball on the new court and were joined by two young boys who rode up on bicycles. He recalled that kids were impressed with the play of Boyd’s son, but not so dazzled by the mayor himself. The four then engaged in a fun pick-up game together.
“That’s what you want to see. We want to see that through the whole town. Together we can do that,” said Boyd.
In closing, Bromell recounted a high school football game 36 years ago where he (as a defensive back for the Loris Lions) tried in vain to tackle Carraway as the Mayo Golden Bear rushed for a touchdown in Virgil Wells Stadium.
“When I met Brother Carraway 11 years ago when I came to Macedonia, I said, ‘I know you ain’t that dude I tried to tackle.’ And he found a picture to prove that he drug me into the end zone!” said Bromell. “But he was a great guy. And just as he drug me and my (fellow) defensive back on that field, he’s now carrying the youth of our city on this field.”