Jerry Devinney stood before his mother's coffin and wept.
But the 21-year-old was not sure why he cried: His mother had left him when he was 3 months old. Alcohol was her ruin, he said.
His father was a "weekend" alcoholic, Devinney said, absent from most family activities.
The Rev. Devinney has been a pastor in Lancaster and York counties for 25 years, and has often volunteered at local funeral homes, assisting with services.
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There has never been a year when he has not helped bury an innocent killed by an alcohol abuser, he said.
It is especially difficult when the deceased is a child.
"When a life is tragically taken, there is no last time to say, 'I love you,'" Devinney said.
It is often most difficult as he leads a family to a funeral home limousine. They look at him, their eyes pleading, asking why this has happened. All Devinney says he can offer is "We are dealing with the depravity of man."
This is why Devinney, pastor at Oakdale Baptist in Rock Hill, will again stand and say "no" to efforts to extend the sales of any alcoholic spirits in York County.
Organizers of a petition drive hope to gather enough signatures to seek voter approval for Sunday sales of beer and wine in some York County stores in the November 2012 election.
The group, Committee of Citizens & Businesses for York County, led successful efforts to bring Sunday sales of alcohol at Rock Hill restaurants in 2006 and countywide Sunday alcohol restaurant sales in 2008.
Its latest effort is for beer and wine sales in some retail outlets. Stores that sell alcohol only still would be closed on Sunday.
Committee members say extending sales will have an economic benefit, stopping the tide of residents who travel across the border to North Carolina, where Sunday sales are allowed. It could also help small businesses and lead to more employment. York County would also see an increase in license fees and sales tax revenue, they say.
Devinney said he cannot believe adding one more day of sales will be the difference in a business' profitability.
"We are selling our consciousness for another day of business," he said.
Devinney said he is not anti-business, noting he does 99 percent of his shopping and dining locally and knows many of the businesspeople from living and working here. He is a Rock Hill native.
"This is a moral issue," he said. "How much is one life worth?"
Sunday sales, "it's just wrong," he concluded.
Petition-drive organizers say they're not expecting opposition to their efforts. Even though public sentiment may favor the petition, Devinney said he does not consider his efforts a lost cause.
"Maybe what I say will change the peoples' mind," he said.
Although Devinney has been accused of getting involved in politics with his efforts to fight Sunday alcohol sales, he says that's OK with him.
"I'm a political minded preacher," he said. "Every prophet who preached, preached to the kings."
Devinney said he is motivated by his love of York County and children. Things must change for the next generation, he said.
Devinney, his brother and sister were raised by their grandparents, who, Devinney says, did a tremendous job. Nonetheless, Devinney's perception of the perfect family came via television - Ricky and Lucy Ricardo on the "I Love Lucy," show, Rob and Laura Petrie on the "Dick Van Dyke Show" , Jim and Margaret Anderson on "Father Knows Best."
"That was the picture of the life I wanted to have," he said.
He said living in Rock Hill is like living in "'Mayberry' with Andy, Barney, Gomer, even Otis."
He wants to keep it that way.
But, "We're in a theater, and there is a fire, and no one is shouting, 'Fire!'"