Fallen officers park stalled, but not stopped, by virus
By Samantha Lyles
Driving past the site of the planned memorial park for fallen South Carolina law enforcement officers on South Main Street, one might be tempted to count it among the many projects indefinitely delayed by to the COVID-19 pandemic, but progress is still taking place.
“It may look as if nothing is moving, but we did start the infrastructure engineering, so the water systems and the drainage have been placed already, and it’s ready for above-ground work,” says Allison Carraway, widow of Sgt. Terrence Carraway, who was killed on duty Oct. 3, 2018, in the Florence 7 ambush. “We are also still working on some of the monuments that will be placed in the park.”
Allison heads the Terrence Carraway Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to constructing the memorial park. She says that even as on-site activity has stalled for now, artists and designers have continued creating some of the park’s keystone features. These will include a granite wall with flowing water across the surface, which will bear the names of all 397 law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty, and a statue of Sgt. Carraway.
“The designs are completed. I have a park designer and an architectural landscaper, so we’re just waiting for the right time to go ahead with our plans,” says Allison.
The granite wall memorial design completed by Bran Oswalt of Brown Memorials, with conceptual input from Allison and Darlington Mayor Curtis Boyd (a longtime friend of Terrence), will offer families and friends a chance to see their loved one honored publicly in a beautiful setting.
“We want the memorial to have a sort of iridescent waterfall flowing over it, so that it will be a place of calm and peace,” says Allison.
Other features include a seating area for guests, a separate monument to recognize major donors, and a quarter-size basketball court where visitors can shoot a few hoops in memory of Terrence, who was very active in coaching youth recreation leagues.
The commissioned statue of Carraway is being completed by an artist in Wisconsin.
As a nonprofit, the foundation relies on donations to complete its work, and they received a generous gift recently from the Fraternal Order of Police.
“The FOP had their quarterly meeting last week and they invited me and presented the foundation with a check of $24,000,” says Allison, noting that the FOP housed foundation donations until their own nonprofit certification was official and complete.
Securing donations for the park has been complicated by the civil unrest stemming from police shootings of unarmed black men this summer, but Allison urges people to remember that those incidents are not representative of how the vast majority of police officers perform their duties.
“Law enforcement as a whole has had a dark shadow put upon them, but it’s a small percentage of officers that don’t do the right thing, or don’t think as swiftly as they should. Overall, we should respect law enforcement for taking care of us and protecting us, even when they don’t know us,” says Allison. “That’s the job. That’s what they do.”