Clayton County Sheriff's officials held a softball tournament last week to benefit the family of slain Deputy Rick Daly, and are gearing up for a fund-raising golf tourney in November.
Sheriff Kem Kimbrough said he feels an obligation to help the Daly family through their period of grieve and loss. Daly, 55, left behind a wife, mother, two adult children and four grandchildren.
"Even though expressions of condolence and tribute are comforting to the family, they cannot replace the financial stability that was taken," said Kimbrough. "I feel a great duty and responsibility to assist the Daly family in this time of crisis."
Saturday's tournament was about more than just playing ball. Dozens of law enforcement officers joined with business sponsors and a local recording artist to honor Daly's life and service to his community. His son, Fayette County Sheriff's Lt. Toby Daly, threw out the first pitch of the day.
The Sheriff's Honor Guard presented the colors for the National Anthem, which was performed by country music singer, Barry Michael. During the anthem, the Fayette County Sheriff's Aviation Unit conducted a fly-over.
The tournament was double elimination with 16 teams. Members of the Clayton County Sheriff's office, and police and fire departments, and the board of education entered teams. The South Florida Lawmen also made the trip to compete. The Miami tournament team ranks No. 2 in Division East of the Police Softball League, and includes Clayton Sheriff's Investigator Jimmy Black.
Black, who organized the tournament, was one of three deputies with Daly during the fatal July 20 traffic stop, in which Daly was shot and killed, in the line of duty. The three men were recently awarded the Sheriff's Medal of Valor for their heroic efforts that day.
Clayton County Sheriff's Maj. Jeff Mitchell said Black was surprised to see his Florida teammates show up for the tournament. Lawmen Coach Mike Kletzky said it was important to show support for the Daly family.
"We are all family," he said. "Any time we can give support to a fallen officer, we will do what we can. This event is even more special because it involves one of our own. There was no way we were going to miss this.
The South Florida team won the tournament and shared the victory with Daly's mother, Joyce Daly, of Hampton. Kletzky, of the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office, told her the tournament medal is his most-prized honor.
"He told her he had been playing softball for a very long time and had won many trophies, but this was the best one he had ever won, and [it] meant more to him than any of the others," said Mitchell.
Michael played in the tournament on the Clayton Sheriffs team, and he autographed and sold his latest CD, giving all proceeds to the Daly family.
Business sponsors included Costco and Sam's Club, which donated food and drinks. Autograph Signs donated signage and banners. Bluelinecigars.com provided raffle items.
The Rick Daly Memorial Golf Tournament will be held at noon, Nov. 4, at Lake Spivey Golf Club in Jonesboro. For more information, contact Brian Fisher, at (770) 477-8412, or by e-mail at Brian.Fisher@co.clayton.ga.us.