35th Annual Walk in the Park honoring fallen first responders in Anderson Co.

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ANDERSON COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – Anderson County law enforcements and first responders hosted the 35th Annual Walk in the Park, honoring fallen first responders.

The event took place at Chris Taylor Park in Anderson, Tuesday evening.

More than 30 first responders were remembered after paying the ultimate sacrifice for years. All law enforcement agencies, firefighters, and EMS personnel who’ve died were amongst those remembered.  

The “Walk in the Park” event included a keynote speaker, presentation of colors, a taps ceremony, and more.

A memory roll call also took place. Names of those who died were read individually during that roll call. As each name was read, flowers were given to each of their families.

The honorees date back to the 1700’s, up to Lieutenant Ethan Kaskin, who died nearly a month ago from the Anderson Police Department.

Those close to the victims said this event meant the world to them.

Over the years, there have been dozens of funerals, and walks to pay tribute to the men and women who put their lives on the line as first responders in Anderson County.

“It has been a difficult time for us. Anytime you have a loss, especially in law enforcement it’s left a void and to be honest, it’s something that we can’t replace or fill right now,” said Chief Jim Stewart, with the Anderson Police Department.

Chief Stewart and the Anderson Police Department recently lost Lt. Kaskin in a car crash before he was heading to work last month. Kaskin’s death is still very painful for the entire department.

“Mostly all of our officers are wearing a band right now. We remember Ethan every day, and it’s going to take time,” Chief Stewart said.

It’s a familiar ache for Nicole Burdette. She lost her husband, Master Deputy Alex Burdette 15 years ago.  

“He was actually finishing his shift and was on his way home, and he come upon a lady who was having car problems, so he turned around to help her get her car out off the highway so nothing would happen to her,” Mrs. Burdette said.

While directing traffic, he was struck by a driver and died from his injuries 12 hours later.

“I’m not going to lie, at first, it was extremely rough. You do live in a fog for several years. You basically trying to get through, sometimes it’s just hour by hour, day by day. Of course now, it’s a little bit easier for us,” Burdette said.

Burdette, Chief Stewart, and Anderson County Fire Chief Jimmy Sutherland, said since the community has rallied around fallen first responders families’ for 35 years, the agony gets a little easier.

“One of the things that I enjoy more about this walk is just the community coming together. That support, you just can’t explain what it does for a family, especially for my kids to see that,” Burdette said.

Events like this, also impact Chief Stewart, who lost his former roommate many years ago.

“I think it’s always important to be there. I can remember, my roommate was Chris Taylor for whom the park was named after out there. So, we’ve experienced loss throughout the years, good friends. It’s a time for us to remember those people,” Chief Stewart said.

Chief Sutherland said no matter what, first responders in the County will also stick together in the most difficult situations.

“Just to show the ones that we have lost that we haven’t forget it and their families. That’s the biggest thing. We want them to realize that we still got them in our thoughts and prayers,” said Chief Jimmy Sutherland, with Anderson County Fire.

The following officers will be honored during the event:

  • Robert Maxwell, sheriff – Anderson County Sheriff’s Office – 1797
  • Arthur Hughes – Honea Path Police Department – 1920
  • William Gibson – Anderson City Police Department – 1924
  • James R. Wilson – Anderson County Sheriff’s Office – 1926
  • Luther A. Martin – Anderson County Sheriff’s Office – 1928
  • Willis Ed Sanders, Sr. – Anderson City Police Department – 1947
  • William L. Acker – Anderson City Police Department – 1956
  • James Tillotson – Anderson County Sheriff’s Office -1957
  • Levis T. Sexton – Anderson County Sheriff’s Office – 1965
  • Earl Dean Compton – Iva Police Department – 1967
  • A.C. Campbell – SC Wildlife Department – 1969
  • Berry Creamer – Anderson County Sheriff’s Office – 1972
  • Edgar Cooley – Honea Path Police Department – 1973
  • Charles G. Sheppard – Anderson City Police Department – 1975
  • Chris Taylor – Anderson County Sheriff’s Office – 1992
  • Randall Hester – South Carolina Highway Patrol – 1994
  • James Alex Burdette – Anderson County Sheriff’s Office – 2005
  • Devin Pressley Hodges – Anderson County Sheriff’s Office – 2017
  • Ethan Kaskin – Anderson City Police Department – 2020

The following firefighters will be honored during the event:

  • William E. Campbell – Anderson City Fire Department – 1913
  • Robert Dodd, Jr. – Anderson City Fire Department – 1913
  • J. Thomas Davis – Anderson City Fire Department – 1934
  • Luther Scott – Williamston Fire Department – 1978
  • Malcolm McClellan – Ebenezer Fire Department – 1986
  • William N. Jones, Jr. – Iva Fire Department – 1992
  • Allen Tripp, Sr. – Three & Twenty Fire Department – 1995
  • Robert Earl Crouch – Double Springs Fire Department – 1995
  • Timmy R. Dawson – Center Rock Fire Department – 1999
  • Michael Martin – Ebenezer Fire Department – 2004
  • David Crenshaw – Pendleton Fire Department – 2012
  • Kenneth M. Stanton, Sr. – Sandy Springs Fire Department – 2015

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