By W. Thomas Smith Jr.
The 17th annual COPS 4 FOSTER KIDS bowling tournament – aimed at improving the lives of foster children in Richland County – netted more than $23,130 this year, beating the previously held 2019 record of $21,000. The tournament was held, as it is every year, at Royal Z Bowling lanes in Dentsville, Sat., Aug. 21
Planned, directed, and hosted by the Richland County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD), the tournament’s proceeds as well as separate donations coinciding with the event were presented to the Midlands Foundation for Foster Children. The foundation serves children across central S.C., primarily in Richland County who have been placed in the custody of the South Carolina Department of Social Services.
“A great event as always,” said Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott. “A huge turnout, fun for all, and it’s but another demonstration of how the men and women of the Richland County Sheriff’s Department as well as the citizens of Richland County and across the broader Midlands truly care about one another.”
RCSD Capt. Cole Porter, tournament director who also serves on the board of the Midlands Foundation for Foster Children, agrees.
“It’s not what you are able to obtain in life that defines you as a person but what you are able to give back,” said Porter. “I am just one person. But with our RCSD family doing it together we were able to put on a very good fundraiser to benefit the Columbia-area Foster Children.”
Among the event’s $1,000 title-sponsors were J. Moore Electrical Contractors, Chris Hutnyak/Carolina Refigeration, ABC Bonding, Leventis Law Firm, Dick Dyer Toyota, Capital City Hauling, Dominion Energy, and Second Wind Heating and Air.
Donating $500 were Shakespeare Company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina, Tara Dawn Shurling, L. Casey Manning, and the University of South Carolina’s Center for Child and Family Studies – College of Social Work.
Donations of $250 and less were also received from companies and individuals many of whom are RCSD employees.
“This tournament and the purpose behind it is something that is near and dear to all of us,” said Lott. “And that’s why it is so successful year after year.”
The first-ever COPS 4 FOSTER KIDS event was held in 2004, not as a bowling tournament, but as a flag football game. The annual bowling tournament began in 2005.
No tournament was held in 2020 because of COVID.