Chair honors Hartwell’s fallen police officer

  • Sunshot by Drew Dotson - Eli Gomez, from left, Hart County Commissioner Ricky Carter, Hartwell Police Chief Anthony Davis, Royston police officer Rick Carter and Tony Capell pose for a photo with a chair donated by Gomez and Capell’s nonprofit, Saving a Hero’s Place.
    Sunshot by Drew Dotson - Eli Gomez, from left, Hart County Commissioner Ricky Carter, Hartwell Police Chief Anthony Davis, Royston police officer Rick Carter and Tony Capell pose for a photo with a chair donated by Gomez and Capell’s nonprofit, Saving a Hero’s Place.
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Royston Police Officer Rick Carter recently discovered that law enforcement ran in his family after researching the name of a fallen officer from Hartwell with no known family.

“I didn’t know about his death until I walked into the chief’s office and he had a proclamation sitting in there,” Carter said. “After finding that lineage book, we were able to go through it and trace our lineage back to William Dooley.”

William Dooley was the Town Marshall of Hartwell in 1883. His death was reported by The Hartwell Sun at the time. While attempting to arrest Winston Adams, the report said, several parties tried to resist the arrest including Lindsay B. Adams, who received a blow  to the head. Later that evening, Dooley was in the Herring barroom when he was shot and killed by “a pistol of 38 calibre,” the report said. Lindsey  B. Adams and Moses M. Rucker were charged with Dooley’s murder. 

On Monday, Saving A Hero’s Place presented the Hartwell Police Department with an honor chair in memory of Dooley. Saving a Hero’s Place is a nonprofit that creates handmade, engraved chairs for fallen first responders. The chairs signify the empty spot where the first responder sat, particularly during roll call. Founder and executive director Tommy Capell and Eli Gomez presented the chair at the ceremony. Capell is a former San Antonio police officer who first created the chairs for a substation in San Antonio. After hearing about the death of MIT Police Officer Sean Collier during the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013, Capell felt compelled to create a chair in his honor.

“That one really bothered me. I couldn’t sleep and I was mad,” Capell said.

After seeing the impact it the chair had on those mourning the officers loss, Capell decided to create Saving a Hero’s Place to provide chairs for more fallen officers.

“We wanted something for the officers. A lot of stuff is done for the family, like it should be, but not a lot of stuff is done for the officers. They just have to move on,” Capell said. “New officers will come in and see this (chair) and say ‘who was this and what happened’ and the legacy will live on forever.”

This was the organization‘s 144th chair and the oldest fallen officer for whom it has provided a chair.  Now  Town Marshall William Dooley’s sacrifice will live on and his chair serve as a symbol to police officers serving in Hartwell for years to come.

“He was forgotten about. That article was written and no one remembers, but this (chair) is a constant reminder every day. People see it. Officers see it,” Carter said. “It’s a reminder that you have to be vigilant. It’s a reminder to the dangers of this line of duty but it’s also a reminder of the support that you get from other officers and the community.”