CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Clergy from around the Lowcountry offered prayers of thanks and gratitude to the police at a prayer service Wednesday morning.
Hundreds filled the Catholic Cathedral of St. John the Baptist as the Charleston Police Fund's illumination project and the Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy honored law enforcement. They also prayed for unity and strength for officers through tough times.
"[This] has been organized to show all law enforcement the citizens appreciation for the hard work they do on a daily basis to keep our communities safe," Mark Ruppel, executive director of the Charleston Police Fund, said.
Citizens saluted and prayed with many law enforcement workers and their families to remind officers how valuable and appreciated they are, officials said.
Officers who attended work for the Charleston County Sheriff's Office, Charleston Police Department, Mount Pleasant Police Department and North Charleston Police Departments, according to a news release.
The idea for the Illumination Project came about after the Mother Emanuel massacre, where nine people were killed in the summer of 2015. Charleston Police wanted to find a way to be more accessible to the people they serve and to be able to have conversations about issues impacting them.
"We need to say thank you," said Rev. John Paul Brown of Union AME Church in Awendaw. Rev. Brown says Law Enforcement Officers do so much, but is often a forgotten group.
He says it is important for the community to throw their arms around the men and women who service. "It's to let them know we appreciate them and the time," he said.