49 Minutes Walking the Line remembers investigator, raises funds for foundation

BY SHARRON HALEY
Special to The Sumter Item
Posted 6/22/18

MANNING - Devout husband, family man, mentor, friend, community servant and outstanding law enforcement officer were just a few of the monikers used to describe Investigator Holmes N. Smith Jr. following his death in the line of duty on Nov. 5, …

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49 Minutes Walking the Line remembers investigator, raises funds for foundation

Posted

MANNING - Devout husband, family man, mentor, friend, community servant and outstanding law enforcement officer were just a few of the monikers used to describe Investigator Holmes N. Smith Jr. following his death in the line of duty on Nov. 5, 2014.

On his way back to the Clarendon County Sheriff's Office after meeting with law enforcement officials in Sumter, Holmes suffered a heart attack and drove off the road hitting several trees. An autopsy revealed he died as result of blunt force trauma.

Since his death, Holmes' wife, Tonia, has been active in keeping his memory alive. She serves on the board of Carolina COPS (Concerns of Police Survivors), an organization staffed by the survivors of officers killed in the line of duty. The purpose of the organization is to provide resources to assist in the "rebuilding of the lives of surviving families and affected co-workers of law enforcement officers."

In an effort to celebrate her late husband's legacy while giving back to the community, Tonia founded The Inv. Homes N. Smith Jr. Foundation Inc.

"He had such a big heart," Tonia said. "He was always helping people."

Tonia remembered her last conversation with her husband.

"He called and asked me if I needed anything, and I told him I'd like a Pepsi," she said with tears glistening in her eyes. "He was already on his way to Sumter. The next thing I know, he's in my office with a Pepsi. That was the kind of man he was. If I needed anything or the children or even his friends, he was there for them."

For the foundation's first big fundraiser, Tonia decided to host a Walk-a-Thon celebrating her husband's 49th birthday, hence the 49-minute walk. "49 Minutes Walking the Line" will begin at 8 a.m. on June 30 at Ramsey Stadium, behind Manning High School off the Paxville Highway.

"Our goal is to raise $4,900," Tonia said. "These funds will go directly to supporting foundation initiatives which include scholarships, community outreach and support of local law enforcement."

Here's how "Walking the Line" works.

"Sponsorship is the name of the game," Tonia added. "Participants in the Walk-a-Thon will need to walk around the Manning High School athletic track for 49 minutes. You'll need to take your pledge/donation sheets to family members and friends and get them to sign on as sponsors. The more sponsors you have to back your efforts, the more your walk will benefit the foundation."

Tonia said sponsors can make "per lap" donations or a flat-pledge donation.

Registration for the walk will begin at 7:30 a.m.

For more information on The Inv. Holmes N. Smith Jr. Foundation Inc., visit HNSmithFoundation on Facebook.

"Next year, I'm planning something really special to honor his 50th birthday," Tonia said with a smile. "Everyone will just have to wait, but it's really going to be an event."