Almost 100 people gathered on the side of Carowinds Boulevard on Friday – the 38th birthday of slain York County Sheriff’s Detective Mike Doty.
The group gathered in Fort Mill Township to dedicate a section of the highway in Doty’s name. Detective Mike Doty Memorial Highway runs from Interstate 77 to the North Carolina state line.
The state Legislature unanimously passed legislation this week to rename part of the highway in Doty’s honor.
Doty died Jan. 17 after he and three other officers were shot while responding to a domestic violence incident near York on Jan. 16.
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“I hope one day we can drive by here and not feel the sadness that we feel today, but we can drive by and feel proud and happy,” York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said.
State Rep. Tommy Pope, R-York, said it was an honor to be involved in passing the legislation honoring Doty. He said the memorial sign should be a daily reminder to residents of Doty’s legacy.
“Just like you saw in that (funeral) procession that day – you saw mothers, children, workers with their hands over their hearts,” Pope said. “Every day law enforcement sees this, every day this community sees this sign, they'll remember that day.
“And they'll remember that sacrifice.”
A few miles away from Friday’s ceremony, businesses in downtown Fort Mill decorated store fronts with blue lights, balloons and ribbons Friday to honor Doty on his birthday.
Shoppers and diners signed a large birthday card at the downtown gazebo. Children from the Preschool on the Greenway made birthday drawings for Doty and displayed them in a store window.
At the packed Amor Artis Brewing business, patrons sat under blue bar lights and walked past a bundle of blue balloons in the window.
“When something happens around us in a small town, I think it’s important to come together as a family and show support in any way you can,” said co-owner Travis Tolson.
Regan Molloy, a manager at Hobo’s Restaurant, said the burger joint invited the Doty family to dine there Friday evening.
“We’re honoring him and his service,” Molloy said.
Hannah Smoot: 803-329-4068