SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) — On Saturday, Spartanburg residents dusted off their bowling balls, tied on their bowling shoes and honored a fallen hero one strike at a time.

It’s been months since Spartanburg County Deputy Austin Aldridge was killed in the line of duty, yet the community continues to support his family. 

While gathered at Paradise Lanes, community members raised over $8,000 for both Deputy Aldridge’s family and the Fallen Officers Fund, an organization that supports the families of officers killed in the line of duty.

“We want to help out Deputy Aldridge’s family and we love the sport of bowling and Aldridge gave his life for what he loved to do so we thought this was the only thing we could do to give back,” said Neil Jenkins, event organizer. 

It was while Jenkins and his friend Evans Wright were attending Deputy Aldridge’s funeral that they were inspired to do something. It took three months of preparation to put Saturday’s event together and see their vision come to life.

“We both work full-time jobs, Monday through Friday, and just during the weekends we’ve been out every Saturday and Sunday just going to local businesses and trying to see if they would donate items,” said Wright.

Many of the event sponsors, like Darrell Huitt, said he immediately called to help after seeing the fundraiser.

“We’re blessed,” said Huitt. “Our officers are out there every day and they put their lives on the line, it’s the least we could do for them.”

Other sponsors, like Jim Odom, said he hopes the fundraiser turns into a tradition.

“Anything we can do to help them, we will,” said Odom. “And hopefully it continues not just today, but for years.”

People who were unable to attend the fundraiser can donate by contacting Neil Jenkins and Evans Wright.