Beginning of watch for Holmes Nathaniel Smith Jr. started the day he was born in 1969. Smith spent almost 20 years in law enforcement. He began his service as a police officer for the City of Manning under former Chief Joey. After spending most of his career here, he moved on to be a game warden for Sumter County Department of National Services and lastly made a home at the Clarendon County Sherriff’s office as an investigator.
Tragically Smith’s end of watch came on the afternoon of November 5, 2014. Smith was returning to Clarendon County from a meeting with SLED agents in Sumter County when his car was involved in a one car collision.
“After he passed I received so many emails and calls about things that he had done for others that I was unaware of,” recalls his widow, Tonia Mallett Smith. “One lady that emailed me said Homie (as she lovingly refers to Smith) passed her on his way home from work one day, and her car was broken down on the side of the road.”
Smith was off work but stopped to help anyway. The woman said she told him she had already called her husband and was just waiting on him to get there. Smith responded, “Then I will wait, too.” He pulled his car behind hers and waited on the husband’s arrival.
It was this story and many others like this that inspired Tonia Smith to create the Inv. Holmes N. Smith Jr. Foundation, Inc. This is a nonprofit 501c3 organization. The foundation helps provide scholarships for children in Clarendon County from the three public schools in the county as well as Keenan High School in Columbia where Holmes Smith graduated in 1987.
The organization is made up of a ten-member board consisting of Scott Danback, Pastor Rob Fulmore, Holly Wilkes, Candice Grant, Investigator Sonia King Daniels, Harriett Huel Lampkin Esq., Veronica D. Mallett, Gene Morris, Dr. Marlon Walters and Danny Young along with Tonia Smith as the executive director.
For their inaugural event, the foundation hosted a 49-minute walk-a-thon in honor of what would have been Smith’s 49th birthday. Held at Carl Ramsey Stadium in Manning, the event raised $2,500 with about 100 people in attendance. The Bank of Clarendon was also present and showed their support by donating $490.00.
The foundation has participated in many other events this year including the Clarendon School District 2 Family Leadership Conference, The Hate Won't Win Serve and Connect Event and The Trusted Parents Organization's spa day. The 2018 goal the Inv. Holmes N. Smith Jr. Foundation has set to raise is $4,900.00.
The next service project the foundation is working on is “Pack a Purse.” They will begin asking for new or gently used purses that will be packed with lotion, shower gels and personal-need items and taken to homeless shelters in Columbia.
“We hope to get this project started by September and deliver the purses for Christmas,” said Smith.
To learn more about the Inv. Holmes N. Smith,Jr. Foundation, Inc., visit https://sites.google.com/view/invhnsmithfoundation or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HNSmithFoundation. To make a donation, call Tonia Smith at 864-674-7377.