Beside the Badge raises $17,000 for Aiken Public Safety

By: Hope Jensen Email
By: Hope Jensen Email
Scott Richardson

Beside the Badge raised over $17,000 to help the family and colleagues of Scott Richardson to Washington D.C. (WRDW-TV / April 30, 2012)

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Sunday, April 29, 2012

AIKEN, S.C. -- Over $17,000 in just five weeks. That's the amount of money Beside the Badge has raised through T-shirt sales and fundraisers. On Sunday, they presented that check to Aiken Public Safety.

That money is helping send officers to Washington, D.C., for National Police Week this year and next year. This year they will honor fallen Officer Scotty Richardson and next year Master Cpl. Sandy Rogers.

"It's just outstanding for what these women have done and the organization as a whole is just tremendous," said Master Public Safety Officer Matt Comer. "It's unbelievable that they raised that amount of money in that short of time."

That money is going to send him and he rest of Scott Richardson's shift to Washington for National Police Week.

"Scott was on my shift and we were really close, me, him and a couple others, so it's really really nice to be able to go up and honor him," Comer said. "Unfortunately, we have to, but we do, and we're gonna do it to the best of our abilities."

It's a trip they'll be doing again next year to honor Frances Williams' life partner Sandy Rogers. Williams has been involved with Beside the Badge since it began.

"When the shirts first came in the thousand shirts, I helped fold and sort and bag them -- so yeah, I was involved," she said.

They sold thousands of T-shirts, but they say this is just the beginning.

"It's a start, it's a start," Williams said. "I mean it's a good thing, but we got a long way to go. It's a start for what we need to do."

The T-shirts display the phrase "We Go On," a statement that's come to mean a lot to the community and the families of the fallen officers.

"It took me a little motivation before I could get up and do something again, but as Sandy said we've got to go on and that's what we've got to do," said Sandy Roger's sister Jenny Johnson. "Pull up our shoe strings and keep on going."

It's become the slogan for Beside the Badge, but its one Sandy's family hopes will never be just words on a T-shirt.

"Anything can happen to anybody at any moment so it's best to be your best person on your front, keep up your heads, do what you're supposed to do," Johnson said.

"And we go on," Williams said.

National Police Week is the third week in May and all seven officers from Scotty Richardson's shift as well as his wife, mother, father and brother are going.

The money raised by Beside the Badge goes strictly to the officers. As for the family, a national group will help pay for hotels, but as far as airfare and other expenses, each member of the family has to foot the bill.

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