MANNING - A wonderful father, dedicated law enforcement veteran, fabulous dancer, beloved friend and a man who loved his community and music was remembered on July 20 during a dedication ceremony that named a portion of Interstate 95 in his honor, the Randolph Garrett Jr. Memorial Highway.
The more than 13-mile stretch of interstate was one of the areas that Garrett frequently patrolled while he was with the Clarendon County Sheriff's Office early in his career.
Garrett's three daughters, Lamonda Sweat and Christina and Brittney Garrett, were on hand for the ceremony along with 75 attendees including several of his former deputies and employees, friends, family and community members.
"Daddy told us lots of stories about patrolling the interstate between the 102 and the 119," Sweat said. "I sure do miss those stories."
Christina Garrett remembered her father as a compassionate man who loved people.
"I am really proud of our Dad," she said. "He loved being with people, and he was always willing to help everyone."
Brittney Garrett remembered her father as a man who loved music and was quite the dancer.
Brittney said she videotaped her father dancing to "Ice Ice Baby."
"That video when viral in Clarendon County," she said with a laugh. "He loved music, and he loved to dance."
His youngest daughter also remembered her father as a man who wasn't afraid to show his emotions.
"At news conferences, whether it was for a child who was returned to its parents or a murder, he would get choked up," Brittney said. "He was never ashamed of that. He had the biggest heart."
Sen. Kevin Johnson introduced the bill naming the portion of I-95 from Exit 102 to Exit 115 in honor of the former Clarendon County sheriff.
"Randy and I, we were closer than friends," Johnson said. "We referred to each other as brothers."
Johnson said that he met Garrett through his mother and become lifelong friends with the veteran law enforcement officer.
Johnson said he was either on council or Manning's mayor when Garrett joined the Manning Police Department and shortly afterward became the city's police chief.
"Why would anyone commit a crime in Manning because Randy was known to get his man?" Johnson shared. "We know that as we drive up and down that portion of the interstate, we will remember what he meant to this county, and others will know what he meant to us."
Although Manning Mayor Julia Nelson had a prior commitment in the Upstate and was unable to attend the ceremony, Manning's Kim Johnson presented Nelson's remarks.
"Sheriff Randy Garrett served with a passion for justice and a even bigger compassion for people," Nelson said. "There are countless stories about Randy's successful law enforcement career. However, after becoming mayor, I learned of this 'Gentle Giant's' big heart."
Nelson said that she remembered many occasions when Garrett went "beyond the call of duty to secure the safe return of children and individuals with dementia who had wandered away from home."
"I also witnessed firsthand his leadership and concern for the safety of the many lives impacted by the recent floods in our county," Nelson added.
With his daughters by his side, Garrett died on Aug. 25, 2018, in a Florence hospital after a brief illness.
Garrett, a native of Holly Hill, began his career in law enforcement as a dispatcher with the Gaffney Police Department when he was 20 years old. One year later, he joined the Gaffney police force. In the early 1970s, Garrett moved to Clarendon County and became an officer with the Summerton Police Department. From there, he moved to the Manning Police Department before joining the Clarendon County Sheriff's Office. In 1998, Garrett became Manning's police chief, a position he held for 11 years. In 2008, he was elected Clarendon County sheriff, a position he held for eight years.
"It was a dream of mine for many years," Garrett said after winning the race for sheriff in 2008. "I was blessed to have many great role models, all whom I learned from."
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