Charleston, S.C.—Crews with the city of Charleston picked up the pieces after police say a drunk driver drove through the Charleston 9 Memorial.
Some of their loved ones came to the site to see the damage. “I miss him so much every day,” Anne Mulkey said. Her son Louis was one of the 9 firefighters who gave his life in the Sofa Super Store fire on June 18th, 2007.
Ms. Mulkey describes what she thought when she saw the damage to her son’s memorial. “When I walked up, I just thank God that the markers weren’t tore up. It was bad, but not as bad as I thought it would be when I got the call, but it can be fixed.”
Gerald Mishoe was also out at the site on Friday. Mishoe is the Executive Director of the Lowcountry Firefighter Support Team which was founded after those 9 men died. “We consider this sacred ground. Said Mishoe.” “It’s been violated today and thank goodness it’s not as bad as it could have been. There is some damage that’s going to have to be repaired and we’re going to have to repair some damage to our spirits.
Here’s how Mishoe said you can help. “You can contact the Fire Department,” instructs Mishoe. “We hope to eventually make improvements here. This is a huge improvement from where this site was 8 years ago and a lot of this has been done because of the generosity of the city and the generosity of the folks in this community. I’m sure those folks will step up again and help us.”
Ms. Mulkey hopes something good comes from this. “I’m hoping with this it will inspire the city to get the memorial finished so that we can go out there and enjoy it more, meditate and be with our loved ones,” she explained. “Get some trees out there, some shade, fountains and flowers to make it a true memorial site.”
Mishoe says the damage that happened on Friday will not keep them down. “These 9 men gave their lives for the good of this community and we’re going to continue to remember that,” he said. “We’re going to hopefully just treat this like a bump in the road and hopefully our law enforcement will take care of the young man who made a bad choice of driving through here. We’ve come back from way more adversity than this and definitely our spirits will come back from this.”
Daniel Doherty is charged with vandalism and driving under the influence. According to the police report, he caused $26,000 worth of damage– $20,000 to fix the light pole he hit and $6,000 to put the Charleston 9 Memorial back together. The judge set his bond at $1,871. Ms. Mulkey says she is shocked by that amount.