News 12 at 6 o'clock / Saturday, June 1, 2013
EDGEFIELD, S.C. (WRDW) -- Hundreds of people came out in support of Wesley Spires, one of the victims in the Riverwalk attack in May, at a fundraiser on Saturday. While not everyone at the fundraiser knows Spires personally, Alex McClain does.
"Thirty-nine years ago I married Wesley's cousin, of course Wesley wasn't around at that time, but our anniversary is today," she said.
The McClains say while some couples celebrate their vows on a trip or nice dinner, they knew exactly how to celebrate theirs this year.
"We wanted to do something special and we wanted to do something for our cousin. So, we came out to get barbecue. We figured that would be a good way to spend our day and to have a special meal for somebody very special," McClain said.
Pulling off the fundraiser took a lot of work, but not just on Saturday -- volunteers started cooking Friday night.
"We started with the Boston butts last night at 8 o'clock, and we cooked right at 700 pounds," said Joey Smith.
But that wasn't the only thing Smith and other volunteers cooked.
"When the Boston butts got done, we turned the grills around and put on 520 chicken halves," he said.
Almost 30 people started the cooking Friday night. One of those helping was Spires' friend, Bobby Allen. Allen says all this is possible because of partnerships.
"Three fire departments and a lot of the members of the community came together to put this on: Merriwether, Westside and Edgefield fire departments," Allen said.
Scott Vivas, chief of the volunteer fire department that Spires is a part of, says this isn't the end of the help.
"We are going to continue to help him as much as we can. We've got some other things we are kicking around, trying to do," he said.
And while Saturday's event was needed, one family member says another thing can help, too.
"He has a really long way to go. So, we still need all the prayers we can get, but he's doing well," McClain said.
A family member told News 12 that Spires has been able to talk some. He was even able to enjoy a milkshake and call some family members.
Organizers don't have a total yet, but Saturday's event collected at least $11,000.