Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Myrtle Beach police host annual viewing of national vigil for fallen officers


MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – As National Police week came to an end, members of the law enforcement community in the Grand Strand gathered Friday to honor those have fallen in the line of duty.

“I’m here, you know it’s never going to be the same. I miss him every day, I think about him every day and I just go along,” said Anita McGarry.

McGarry joined members of the Myrtle Beach Police Department and others across the nation for a broadcast of the candlelight vigil held in Washington D.C. honoring fallen officers.

Among those honored was her son, MBPD Pfc. Joe McGarry.

“He was our only child, our only son and it’s difficult because everybody’s got grandchildren now,” Anita said.

Pfc. McGarry was shot and killed in 2002 while he and his partner were checking on a suspicious person in a parking lot along Kings Highway. He was on the job just four years.

“People would say, why did he become a cop? And I say that’s what he wanted to be,” Anita said.

Three officers have died in the line of duty since the MBPD was established.

Officer Henry Scarborough, who was on the job for just one day, was shot and killed while transporting a prisoner in March of 1949.

The most recent was Pfc. Jacob Hancher, who was shot and killed in October 2020 while responding to a domestic violence call.

All three losses serve as a stark reminder that there is no typical day in their field.

“There is nothing routine in Law Enforcement and it doesn’t matter the circumstances, Police Officers are always going. Helping someone who needs it is the highest calling possible and we’ve lost several officers doing exactly that, serving this community,” said MBPD MCpl. Tom Vest.

The department says they will continue to allow people to gather each year and watch the broadcast of the event as long as it’s held.

“We are unfortunately no stranger to loss here in the city,” Vest said. “And the candlelight vigil is incredibly meaningful for everyone who’s lost an officer in the line of duty. Sadly, we are a member of that group.”

Anita said her faith in God keeps her going after losing her only child, adding that she often prays that other families who have experienced a loss like hers.

The MBPD will hold a sunrise service at Plyer Park at 6 a.m. Sunday to further honor the lives of those officers lost.

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