Police, firefighters team up to serve barbecue to help Rock Hill cop battling cancer

Cops and firefighters in Rock Hill teamed up Friday through barbecue to raise money for a police officer battling cancer.

Lt. Joe Johnson, a Rock Hill Police Department 20-year veteran, is going through treatment for a rare bone cancer.

His peers at the police department organized the barbecue fundraiser at the Fraternal Order of Police on West Main Street, with city firefighters cooking the barbecue.

“All the phone calls, the text messages, the well wishes, I am so honored,” Johnson said Friday at the benefit, where hundreds of police and supporters showed up to buy food and wish Johnson a speedy recovery.

Officers from as far away as Lancaster, Chester and Union counties bought plates. A huge contingent from Rock Hill police, York County Sheriff’s Office, Rock Hill Fire Department and EMS also were there to support Johnson.

Those who talked of Johnson as a great officer who is committed to the safety of all people ranged from S.C. Rep. and Congressional candidate Tommy Pope to York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson. Others included support staff and dispatchers from the law enforcement agencies.

“The police and emergency community is a brotherhood,” Johnson said. “I am proud to be part of it.”

Johnson said he has finished chemotherapy and radiation, and soon will have surgery to remove the cancer. He hopes to return to the Thin Blue Line of officers after that.