CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - A Charleston architectural firm planted a tree at the new Charleston County Sheriff's Office building on Tuesday to serve as a memorial for a fallen deputy.
Dep. Joe Matuskovic was fatally wounded while responding to a disturbance at a West Ashley apartment complex on Sept. 8.
Benjamin Whitener of Cummings & McCrady, Inc. Architects and his daughter, Noelle, planted a Japanese Maple near the south entrance of the building and courtyard, according to the Sheriff's Office's Facebook page.
The architectural firm worked with the county to design the new building and renovate the existing one.
"We just wanted to give something back," Whitener said. "We thought it was an appropriate gift, something that will stay at the new building forever, we hope."
Whitener said the spot was chosen because it was prominent and in a place where employees and the sheriff will walk by and see it.
When Lt. C. W. Brokaw with the sheriff's office looked up the significance of the Japanese Maple tree, he said one of its meanings really seemed to hit the mark.
"'Great Blessings and Peaceful Retreat' and that is what I believe Joe is enjoying at this very moment," Brokaw said. "Great blessings for his unselfish service, and a peaceful retreat from the troubles of this world. It was an honor to know and work with Joe, and we all owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to him and all of our other fallen colleagues both at home and abroad."
Matuskovic was one of five deputies on the scene at the time of the shooting. A second deputy, Michael Ackerman, was wounded in the leg and hospitalized but was released in time to attend Matuskovic's funeral one week after the shooting.