By Stan Welch
The fifth anniversary celebration of the founding of the White Plains Crime Watch group turned into a testimonial for the group’s founder, Ada Martin. Approximately forty residents, Crime Stopper board members, of which Martin is one, and various law enforcement officials, gathered last Thursday night to mark the fifth year of the group’s existence.
Martin read the agenda from the first meeting, and remarked how things had both changed tremendously and remained very much the same as well. “This has been a labor of love,” said Martin, who suffered the loss of her son to a still unsolved murder more than a decade ago. “When this idea first came up five years ago, I knew I had to be involved. If I can help one person avoid the loss I suffered, it is all worthwhile.”
Sheriff John Skipper noted that the White Plains group, which was one of the first formed in the county, remains a model for others to follow. “These groups often come together as a result of some tragedy. Then the interest wanes and they come and go. This group has had as many as sixty members and as few as four in the early days. But Ada Martin is the glue that holds it together, and she has been from the start.”
Skipper added that there are now fifty such groups across the county. “When they ask for advice on how to get started, this group is one of the ones we point to. And Ada is always ready to offer advice and help to them.”
Anderson County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Chad McBride, was a detective in 2008, and was also instrumental in starting the group. He called Martin “ a light in this community. She is a very determined woman and did this on her own. It is an honor to know her.”
Capt. Darrell Hill, regional captain for the area, also praised Martin, and was praised in return. He was given a giant cookie and a plaque declaring him a Partner in Crime . . . Prevention.
Williamston Mayor Mack Durham was also on hand, as was Sgt. Melton, of the SCHP. Durham explained that a community watch program is starting in the town and that Martin has been helpful in those efforts as well.
For her part, Martin shied from the praise, mentioning various members of the group and the roles they play. “There is always something to do in a group like this, and it seems we always have someone willing to step up and do it. That is why this is such a great community to live in. We even have people from other areas join our group because we work so well together. That, of course, extends our reach as well.”
The next meeting will be at the White Plains Community Building at the intersection of Hwy. 8 and Midway Road. It will be at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 28. The meeting is always the fourth Thursday of the month.