It’s the little things that sometimes make the biggest difference. That is something Deputy Dave Smith with the Aiken County Sheriff’s Department knows first-hand.
It was Christmas Day 2015. “I was relatively new on the road,” he shared. A call came in. A domestic situation. Deputy Smith responded and met a young boy. “I had previously bought a bunch of toys and kept them in the back of my vehicle to give to kids. This particular boy, I gave him a football. He was wearing a sports team shirt… so, I gave him the football.”
>Deputy Smith didn’t think much more of the incident until he was stopped by a woman 6 months later at a gas station. “She said, ‘I doubt you’d recognize me, but that boy that you gave the football to on Christmas Day, I’m his aunt. I’m the sister of his father. You don’t realize what you’ve done.’” The woman went on to share that the child’s mother had committed suicide two weeks before Deputy Smith had responded to that call. The child had been struggling with his parent’s relationship; that is why Deputy Smith had been called to the house two weeks after the suicide. “Long story short—both that kid and his father love football and ever since I gave them the football, they’ve been throwing the football every day and talking every day when they weren’t before.”
According to Chief Hill from Wagener Police Department, this behavior is common for Deputy Smith. “He never misses a photo op with a child, the opportunity to stop and speak to a passerby, or the opportunity to do favors that he doesn’t have to do. On more occasions than can be counted he has taken personal phone calls requesting some type of help and was happy to do so. He regularly checks on personnel at our local businesses even though not assigned and has often taken calls for my department due to short staffing.”
To Deputy Smith, this is his calling; it is something deeper inside of him. “To me, when you are placed in a position like this, you have the ability to do so much more; to reach out to citizens. You have the ability to reach out, so why not?”
About the Officer Gregory Alia Award
Serve & Connect was founded by Kassy Alia in memory of her husband, Greg Alia, who was killed in the line of duty on September 30th, 2015. This prestigious annual award is named in his honor and recognizes an outstanding officer who demonstrates a commitment to serve his/her community with respect and compassion; one who goes above the call of duty to ensure that members of the community are protected, cared for, and feel valued; one who treats all members of the community as equal and who employed their role with thoughtfulness and tact; and who through everyday interactions builds a safer community for all. The award is presented at our annual event, the Knight of Honor Gala, which will be held on September 28, 2018 in Columbia, SC.