The mother of a Clayton County sheriff's deputy killed in the line of duty in July said Friday her son would be pleased to see something positive come out of such a senseless tragedy.
Deputy Rick Daly's family attended a presentation of donations from employees at DHL to the Georgia Sheriffs' Youth Homes. His mother, Joyce Daly, spoke on behalf of his wife, Cheryl; son Fayette sheriff's Lt. Toby Daly; daughter Amber Wright; and sisters Suzanne Brown and Judy Dempsey.
"These kids are our future," she said. "If we don't help them, who will? What better way to honor his memory. He loved kids. He's happy today if he can see us down here."
Daly is the first countywide officer in Clayton to die by gunfire in the line of duty. Police have charged Veasna Johnathan Bun, 17, with murder in his death. Joyce Daly said she sees parallels in the lives of the children in the youth homes and Bun.
"Some of these kids could've ended up like Johnathan Bun," she said. "Who knows what would have happened if he'd had more help? I wish there had been more done for him. He's just a kid."
The Georgia Sheriffs Youth Homes have provided stability, security and structure to the state's at-risk children for more than 50 years. They are sustained through community and corporate donations, said Terry Norris, executive director of the Georgia Sheriffs Association and the youth homes. The Daly family has asked donations for Georgia Sheriffs' Youth Homes be made in lieu of flowers for anyone wanting to honor Daly's life.
Friday's donations of money and household, personal and school items were coordinated by the worldwide shipping corporation, DHL, as part of the company's Global Volunteer Day. Daly's sister, Suzanne Adams, has worked for DHL for 23 years.
"They really went above and beyond," said Adams. "For them to do this for me, it's just wonderful."
Adams said the family has been overwhelmed by support since her brother was killed, so it was important for them to return the generosity.
"It's exciting that our family can give something back to show our appreciation," she said. "Kids are so important. Rick would have loved this, to honor his memory in this way. We want to keep doing good things and not let it be a tragedy. He'd be the first one to help if this had happened to another officer."
Sumter County Sheriff Pete Smith is president of the Georgia Sheriffs' Youth Homes. He told the group Friday that here is nothing in those boxes that the kids can't use.
Clayton sheriff's Chief Deputy Garland Watkins spoke for his department.
"This was an unfortunate tragedy, but we can get past it and we'll get past it together," he said. "We lost him, but isn't it grand what he's still able to do?"