LITTLE RIVER, SC (WMBF) – More than 100 law enforcement officers gathered for a golf tournament.
" My father and Rick's father, they passed away and they changed the name of the tournament after my dad died, to the Troy Hardee Memorial Law Enforcement Appreciation Day," Mike Hardee said.
Though the Hardees may not have a badge to prove it, if you ask anyone in the law enforcement community, they'd tell you they are very much the heart of it. 26 years ago, the event all started with Troy Hardee gathering law enforcement officers together for rounds of golf, to show his appreciation. After a couple of years, the event grew so large, former Senator Dick Elliott stepped in to help.
"H cared so deeply about our law enforcement officials and their families and this is a way for our family to give back and say thank you and say hey we honor and respect the job that you do, and we appreciate what you do in the field," Rick Elliott explained.
The tournament always takes place the Thursday after Labor day and as much as it honors the two founders of the tournament, it also falls near September 11th. This year, the day before.
"You know we have folks here that have retired from up North, from New York, some of them will be here today," Sheriff Phillip Thompson said.
"9/11 changed the world. With this event it's another way to honor those who have fallen, fallen officers and citizens in that event," Elliott added.
Remembrance, 18 holes, a raffle, and years of memories. All part of an experience that means more than words to the law enforcement community.
Many of the men and women at the event said they look forward to this event every year and will continue to attend as long as the tradition lasts, which they hope is for many more years to come.
Along with county leaders like Horry County Solicitor Jimmy Richardson, officers from South and North Carolina state agencies, Surfside Beach, Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, The Horry County Sheriff's Office, and the Horry County Police Department participated in the tournament.
Collecting an optional $30 from players, organizers say they raffle off donated items, and all the proceeds go towards the Miracle Network for Kids. The tournament raises $1400-$1700 a year.