LAURINBURG — The community took time out Thursday afternoon to say thanks to the men and women of law enforcement who protect Laurinburg and Scotland County.
The program called “Hope on the Hill,”was prayer service to honor the work law enforcement officers as part of a 15th anniversary marking the terrorists attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
About 70 people met at the Three Crosses on the Hill at the First United Methodist Church on West Church Street to show their gratitude to those in law enforcement.
“One of the most beautiful things in Scotland County is that law enforcement risks their lives and do what they do for us and I think that is great,” said Rev. Verne Womack, retired United Methodist Church pastor, who acted as Thursday’s master of ceremonies.
The program began with the Laurinburg Police Department Honor Guard followed by the audience reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. The group also sang Hymns and offered prayers of officers and deputies.
The event featured several speakers, including Sgt. Shawn Chavis of the Laurinburg Police Department, Sheriff Ralph Kersey, Rev. Micheal Edds of the Cross Pointe Church and Paul Lemmond, a retired member of the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office.
“Even though the sheriff’s office and Laurinburg Police Department are different departments, we are a brotherhood and sisterhood,” said Kersey.
“We are very appreciative of the love and support that we have received — of course some people in Laurinburg don’t like the police, but for the majority of about 90 percent that encourages us and that have thanked us, brought us goody bags and fed us over these last few months — we are just thankful for a community that stands behind us and supports us,” Chavis said.
Lemmond called for law enforcement and the community to stand together. He also revealed plans to start a “Pray for a Cop,” program.
“I’m asking you to wake up in the morning and pray for law enforcement so they can make the right decisions and I want citizens to support police through the bad times and good times,” Lemmond said.
Lemmond plans to distribute electronic Christmas candles with a blue light bulb on them for residents to put in their front windows.
“I’m going to order a bunch of Christmas candles and I will put a blue light in them, then you can put it in your window, so when the police are riding through your neighborhood they can see that man’s praying for me, that ladies praying for me and that is powerful,” Lemmond said.
For Lucia Freeman, a member of the First United Methodist Church, said the event needs to be repeated.
Reach Nolan Gilmour at 910-506-3171