The Cops for a Cure golf tournament is always special to us. This year it was even more special.
The annual tournament raises money to help first responders and their families when they're challenged by unexpected financial struggles in the event of illness. Last year, though, the decision was made to permanenly rename the tournament in memory of Spartanburg County Deputy Austin Aldridge, who was killed in the line of duty in 2022.
Brad Newton, one of the tournament's organizers. said the event was focused on the needs of first responders, and grew from there.
"Cops for a Cure started in 2019," Newton said. "Our mission at that point in time was just to do all we could to help first responders. We saw a need with several of our officers who had significant illnesses within their families and that sort of thing. We wanted to do all we could to raise money to help in those cases, and as we got involved in that we started to see a need more and more than what we initially realized. We started to get our 501(c) 3 designation. This tournament is our main fundraiser throughout the year, and we've done a couple of smaller things in years past. Last year, we were able to come up with the idea of a scholarship fund for this year. That's something we want to continue to build upon."
Honoring Aldridge, Newton said, was an easy decision. Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said he's thrilled to have the tournament dedicated to Aldridge's memory.
"I'm thankful for the tournament helping Austin's family," Wright said. "This was presented to me to rename the tournament, and it was an easy choice. I am so honored to serve with the quality of people who are employed with Spartanburg County, and I want to thank all who helped with this event, and all who helped sponsor it. May God bless them all."
We're proud to have served as one of those sponsors, from the tournament's early days, through this year, and for years to come.
"The law enforcement community has always been so important to us," said Kevin Harrison, Harrison's Vice President. "They put their lives on the line daily to keep our community safe, and it is often a thankless job. They are so much more than just customers. We consider them family, and we will always support them and have their backs. Our prayers continue to be with Deputy Aldridge's family."