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Community remembers Officer Barr during 'Steel Paws' K-9 fundraiser

Steel Hands brewery hosted the launch of 'Steel Paws' to help raise funds for the Richland and Lexington County Sheriff's and Cayce Police departments' K-9 officers.

CAYCE, S.C. — Residents from all across the Midlands came out to Steel Hands Brewery to support the launch of "Steel Paws," a charitable mission for several local police departments.

"It's a charitable mission that was created to benefit and create awareness and also raise critical funds for those K-9 programs," said Ashley Lambert, marketing director for Steel Hands Brewery. 

Steel Paws was an event that already had an important purpose. But following the death of Officer Drew Barr just one week earlier, it became that much more heartfelt. Barr was killed while responding to a domestic violence call.

"It was tragic what had happened and we had not planned for it and we really wanted to honor officer Drew Barr today," Lambert said. "We knew it was something he was very passionate about he was trying to expand on the K-9 programs here in Cayce."

Lambert explained that it was this passion that led to long discussions over the last week with everyone involved including Barr's family - and to the decision to allow the event to move forward even a week after tragedy.

"It's really a celebration and a special day for all of those involved and just the community coming together to honor him and support our mission of Steel Paws," Lambert said. "We just can't be any more thankful." 

RELATED: Fallen Cayce Officer Drew Barr remembered by hometown of Batesburg-Leesville

Chief of police in Cayce, Chris Cowan, said the turnout surprised him. 

"This huge turnout, it's just emotional," he said. "It's really beautiful - people telling us how much they care and how much they love us." 

RELATED: Cayce Officer Drew Barr laid to rest

Several residents spoke about their desire to come out and support law enforcement. Among them was Marvell Bell.

"We've lost a young person at a young age and to just think it's very important that we support our law enforcement," Bell said. "They protect us and we need to show our support for them."

It was a sentiment shared by Marco Garcia. 

"Honestly, it's so awesome how the community has gotten together to support law enforcement," Garcia said. 

A week after heartbreak, Chief Cowan said that he felt the love and support of his community at a time when he, his fellow officers, and the Barr family most needed it.

"It's all coming around that and how we can support the community and they can support us," he added. 

The Cayce Police Department, Richland County Sheriff's Department, and Lexington County canine programs were all involved in the big event.

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