Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Always on Call

                                       In Memory of James Edward "Eddie" Hamby.
                                       November 15, 1945-July 21, 2014

Driving home one day, I noticed a patrol car parked at a house.  I soon learned not only who it  belonged to, but how important that car was to Regency Park neighborhood.  The patrol car belonged to an Anderson County Deputy, Eddie Hamby.  Eddie passed away in July, 2014.  Regency Park misses that car and the man  we could always call on who made us feel safe.

Sergeant Eddie Hamby served Anderson County as a deputy for thirty-three years, leaving an exemplary work ethic for not only deputies, but an entire community.  Anderson County Sheriff's office promises to safeguard the lives, property and constitutional rights of citizens and maintain order through a constant and visible law enforcement presence.  All of our personnel are committed and compelled to the rule of law and its professionalism.  According to Sheriff John Skipper, Eddie went above and beyond and took this promise seriously.  He worked over and extra duty to complete a job.  "Eddie was stern when necessary but compassionate. He was truly dedicated to his community and the people that live in it."  

Sheriff Skipper believes Eddie was an example to others. "He worked a good bit of his career in warrant and civil division serving papers. He was always at the top of the list for most served, and we assigned new officers to ride with him to learn his work ethic." His son, Deputy Scott Hamby, says his dad never missed a day of work because someone else would have to pick up his slack.  "He loved his job with a full heart." 

Deputy Eddie Hamby kept his promise to safeguard the community and its citizens. One of his duties as a deputy was helicopter observer for the pilot, Sheriff Skipper.  Eddie loved to fly and did an excellent job as an observer, spotting suspects, watching for other aircraft, and running the radio, video camera and thermal imaging system.  When they were flying once, the dash started smoking and the cockpit was filling fast. "Eddie's training kicked in. He opened his window so the smoke would draw to his side of  the cockpit, away from the pilot so the pilot could see.  He started the emergency shut-down, announced on the radio we had an emergency and our location, which allowed me to land the helicopter without incident."

Eddie's wife, Brenda, knew being a deputy was Eddie's calling.  He was a man of faith and served not only his neighborhood, but also his church, Centerville Baptist. One of Eddie's favorite Bible passages was one of a Shepherd's service. 

Psalm 23.
The Lord is my shepherd;  I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk  through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff  protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord


Eddie's cup overflowed with blessings of family and friends. If they needed something repaired or needed to borrow tools or even money in a crunch, he was there.  He instilled in his family the need to always be positive.  He taught his children to treat people the way they wanted to be treated. Eddie delighted in his grandchildren and great-grandchildren who called him Poppy or Papa.  He shared his love of aviation and racing with friends, hardly ever missing a race. Eddie liked to ride go-carts with his friend, Billy.  Eddie loved nature.  He and Brenda traveled frequently with friends Billy and Belinda Finley to the mountains, usually Cades Cove, where they enjoyed old cabins and preserved churches and the peaceful waterfalls and abundant wildlife. 

Eddie, an Army veteran, was called to serve, and his family knew it.  Following in his dad's footsteps, Scott witnessed his father's influence and dedication to his community.  Dad started law enforcement when I was 6 years old, and I remember sitting on the swing set waiting on him to get home. I'd help wash his patrol car and always asked him if he chased bad guys that day.  Almost everywhere I go, someone asks if I'm Eddie Hamby's son, and proudly I state "yes." I always hear, "your dad was a great man." Even people he arrested say, "I was trouble back then, but your dad helped me."  I even had a few people tell me "if I became half the man he was I will go far in life." That makes me proud.
Deputy Sharon Carroll worked with her brother Eddie, her rock and hero always watching over. In fact, he tried to talk her out of law enforcement because it was dangerous for a woman.  He had a great outlook on life and was happy most all the time.  He liked to joke around and make people laugh.  I learned a lot from Eddie.  He was my Sergeant for a few years, but the best thing of all I got to see him at work 5 days a week for more than 20 years.  I wouldn’t take anything for that.

Verses three and four of Psalm 23 remind us of a shepherd's protection.
Even when I walk  through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff  protect and comfort me.

Regency Park neighborhood experienced deputy Hamby's commitment to the protection of Anderson County. Sheriff Skipper encourages deputy involvement in their communities, and Eddie kept his promise to us as a constant and visible law enforcement presence. He started our neighborhood watch program and maintained a watchful eye on Regency Park along with us.  I miss his car, miss knowing there was someone here we could call on any day, anytime.  

Brenda says she also misses his car sitting in the yard.  It always made me and all our neighbors feel safer while it was here. After he got sick, he would get up each morning and tell me how much he wanted to go back to work. He still talked about going back even when he went to the VA Nursing Home. And no matter what day or time, if someone here called him about a problem in Regency Park, even if it was a day off, he would get in his car and go and try and help with the situation. I thought about that this weekend when someone went to our playground and did "donuts" in the grassy area, tearing it up.  I know if he were still here, he would not stop until he found the person responsible for such a senseless act.

I'm certain the entire neighborhood agrees with her.  Always on call. Always willing to help. He was called to serve and protect his family, friends, neighborhood, and Anderson County until the job was done.  He believed citizens shouldn't be afraid in their own homes, so he helped us maintain order. We have a right to feel safe, so he taught us not only to be watchful, but to call if our safety was in question and we needed assurance, no matter how big or small the problem.

This was the life of a man called to enforce laws that protect us. This was the life of Sergeant Eddie Hamby, Anderson County Deputy. He will always be missed.  "I miss him every day. But I'm thankful and blessed to have had a wonderful man and father to raise me."  Deputy Scott Hamby

Regency Park was lucky to have Eddie Hamby. Whether we knew him personally or recognized his car, we had an Always on Call a phone call away. His car is no longer visible, but  he was called to help us be watchful and look after each other. I'm personally not afraid to call law enforcement if needed.  I'm promised that protection along with the protection of the Shepherd of Psalm 23 whose law and presence protect and comfort me.

Like Eddie, He's always on call, too.

A tremendous thank you to Eddie's wife, Brenda; his son, Scott; his sister, Sharon, and Sheriff John Skipper.  

Eddie was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police, an organization committed to improving the working conditions of law enforcement officers and the safety of citizens through education, legislation, information, community involvement, and employee representation.  The South Carolina FOP is the voice of those who dedicate their lives to protecting and serving our communities.  To donate to South Carolina Fraternal Order of Police, http://www.scfop.org/