Officer Scotty Richardson

Today* we celebrated his life.

This morning I woke up knowing that the majority of my day would be spent fighting back tears and wiping my nose. This afternoon a fallen hero was laid to rest surrounded by friends, family, and strangers hoping to say “thank you.”

Officer Scotty Richardson was shot and killed in the line of duty last week. He was 33. I was not lucky enough to be counted among his friends, but based on the outpouring of heartbreak and support for the family he left behind (a wife and three small children), I can only come to the conclusion that he was a great man.

The memorial service today and the funeral that followed were heartbreaking. They spoke about his childhood, his doting mother and proud father, his Aiken heritage and the pride he felt for his hometown. They raved about his perma-smile (somewhat mischievous but always beaming), his soft-spoken and gentle nature, and his desire to serve the people and keep the peace. They listed his many accomplishments and his numerous qualifications. They spent time reflecting with his family over funny stories, the love he had for his three sons, and how he felt about marrying his soul-mate. People have had nothing but good things to say about Scotty, and it’s clear that Aiken has lost a magnanimous hero.

I’ve had a tightness in my throat and heaviness on my chest since first hearing about his death. It could have been someone I knew. It could have been Mike. You never know when tragedy is going to claim someone you love. Thousands of officers from departments across the state came to pay their respects to Officer Richardson. Aiken was bursting at the seams with law enforcement today. The whole of downtown came to a screeching halt during the processional. Traffic was stopped both ways. Citizens lined the streets and waved American flags as the horse drawn carriage passed them by. And they wept. Everyone wept.

I’m the type of person that gets teary eyed at the sight of the stars and stripes. My eyes water during the National Anthem. I sob during videos of troops coming home from deployment and swell with pride knowing that so many men and women would willingly take such bold risks to protect the country I love, along with the people in it – more than 300 million strangers. Scotty was one of those souls driven to do something bigger than himself. And we are grateful.

I could hear the bagpipes playing before they entered my line of sight. They gave me goosebumps.

Mike is 4th from the Left!

So now we mourn this man that many of us did not even know, while a family struggles to find their way in such unfamiliar territory. I think about how this pain will hang over them for many holiday seasons to come. I wonder how they will face it. How will they handle such a profound loss? They will never be able to fill the void his death has created. They will never know why he was taken.

But we are human. Surprisingly resilient creatures. And I know this community that can at times seem distant and disconnected, will band together and embrace Scotty’s family. It takes a village to raise a child, and his sons are in the protective hands of their newfound law enforcement family.

This was Mike’s Facebook status today. I think he said it well, “there are men and women who
wake up every day and put on a uniform. They then take to the streets
with the purpose of keeping you, your property and the community safe.
They knowingly place their lives on the line to accomplish this. Today a
wife will return home without a husband and children will return home
without a father. All who serve in law enforcement give some, some have
given all. May the Lord receive Scotty Richardson and may he keep and
bless the family he left behind. Rest in peace Scotty.”

 *I actually wrote this on Tuesday. So when I say today, I mean yesterday.

Tags: Aiken, Love

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Compulsive snacker. Bleeding heart. Unhealthy obsession with Tom Hanks and cats. Florida State and Syracuse University alum.
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  1. Reply

    Hi Anna,I loved your photos and the story you told about the officer. My heart goes out to the families who have suffered such loss. Your photos were very moving and some brought tears to my eyes. Please tell Mike I was thinking of him, I'm sure that has had a huge emotional impact on to all,Your Auntie Donna!xoxo

  2. Reply

    I just teared up sitting in the airport reading this post Anna. I'm so sorry for the loss to your community. I hope that Mike will be forever safe and watched over. LIOB

  3. Reply

    I'm so sorry to hear about such a tragedy. My thoughts and prayers are with Officer Richardson's family and may God continue to keep Mike safe.

    • MACI
    • December 28, 2011

    This was beautifully done Anna…..may God watch over your Mike and the many law enforcement officers that walk out their doors everyday not knowing if they will return home!!xoxo

  4. Reply

    This is really touching. It was very well put. I am engaged to a deputy he was actually in the honor guard with Mike he is the second person in line. I can not imaging going through what Scotty's family is having to go through and with it happening so close to Christmas it makes it so much worse. It broke my heart to see his 3 precious boys yesterday at the funeral. Its amazing to see the out pouring love and support. I will continue to pray for the Richardon family and the ADPS as they battle back as I know Scotty would want them to. I also pray that God will watch over other officers, fire, and ems personal as they protect and serve our community.

  5. Reply

    I can't help the tears right now. Such a heartbreaking and devastating loss. Anna, you captured the memorial and Officer Scotty in such a beautiful and commemorative way.

    • Anonymous
    • December 28, 2011

    I can't help the tears right now. Such a heartbreaking and devastating loss. Anna, you captured the memorial and Officer Scotty in such a beautiful and commemorative way.

  6. Reply

    Very nicely done! Great photos. God Bless

  7. Reply

    I'm sorry if this seems rude but I really don't think its appropriate to use these pictures to gain popularity. Scott is my brother in law and while you did take nice pictures I find your comment very offensive

  8. Reply

    Anna I have no idea who you are but this has to be one of the best writings I have seen about the Scott and the service. You covered everything with such openness and honesty. Thank you for your words and fantastic pictures!

  9. Reply

    Cathy,I'm sure Anna didn't mean to offend or to use these pictures to gain popularity. Her statement under "Post a Comment" has been on her blog since she started it a couple of years ago. It wasn't specific to her post for Scott. Maybe she should have removed it for this particular post, but I'm certain she just didn't think about it. This was probably your first visit to her blog, so you didn't know this – that's understandable. Anna is a very sensitive and compassionate person and she will be devastated to learn her post offended Scott's family in any way. Please know that you and all of Scott's family are in our thoughts and prayers. We are all so sorry for your loss.

  10. Reply

    very moving and touching tribute to Scotty and his family. it moved me and my family greatly and brought tears to our eyes, and opened our hearts even more than they already were for the men and women who work in the ems fire and police profession. the sacrifices they and their families make is enormous. thank you for this moving blog and pictures.

  11. Reply

    Beautiful!! The photo that moved me the most was the picture of the fireman's helmet and flag. My prayer is that God will comfort the family as only He can at this time. I am grateful to live in a community that cares. I am sorry we were not here to be a part of this to show our support. Grace and Peace to you and yours.

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