LUMBERTON — In the 18 days since Police Officer Jeremiah Goodson was shot and killed, Lumberton and surrounding communities have rallied in support of the lives that he left behind.
“It’s overwhelming,” Police Chief Michael McNeill said. “People are really pouring their hearts out for the Goodson family.”
More than 1,700 people have joined a Facebook group titled “Rest in Peace ~~ Jeremiah Goodson,” where fund-raising efforts are being organized by local residents, family members, and even military police from as far away as Cuba.
Businesses have pledged to donate percentages of sales to Goodson’s wife Lametria and their three children; large boxes await donations of baby items for the couple’s 10-day-old son Josiah and 2-year-old daughter Jurnee; gift cards are being collected for Jeremiah’s 16-year-old adopted son, Tyrin; and across the county, car windows are displaying stickers that bear Goodson’s name, his patrol car number, and the date of his death — July 17.
Fewer than 300 of the 1,100 blue-and-white decal stickers printed by Sign City memorializing Goodson are still available for purchase, according to Amy Mercer, who along with her husband Jamie is selling the stickers. Available in a 5-and-a-half inch size for $4 and a 3-and-a-half-inch size for $3, the stickers can be found at the Xpress Depot on Fayetteville Road; The Stomped Grape at 588 Bailey Road; Bryant’s Gun and Pawn; the Sheriff’s Office; M&J Gas Company at 1911 E. Fifth St.; Greg Jones Law Firm at 4320 Fayetteville Road; and the SunDo gas station on Carthage Road.
“Later on, when his children are older, hopefully they will see them on the back of vehicles and say, ‘hey, that’s my daddy… look how many people supported him,’” Mercer said.
Mercer’s effort, which dates to July 21, is just one of many.
Layne Floyd Monteiro, whose husband is employed at the Lumberton Police Department, also has car window stickers for sale, available at the Lumberton Police Department. The black stickers, which are shaped like an officer’s badge and also bear Goodson’s name, patrol car number and date of July 17, are $2 each.
Monteiro will also be offering silicone wrist bands bearing Goodson’s name at the department for $3 each; starting Aug. 27, yellow and red bands bearing the officer’s name will be sold through Lumberton High School’s booster club for $1 each.
A post on the Facebook page for “Chick-fil-A of Lumberton” reads that on Aug. 23 the restaurant will be giving vouchers for a free sandwich to anyone donating new clothes or toys for Josiah and Jurnee, or a gift card for Tyrin. On Tuesday, KFC restaurants at 2000 Roberts Ave. and 520 W. Second St. will dedicate 10 percent of food sales to Lametria Goodson, a former employee of the restaurant. Donations to the family will also be accepted that day.
Photographer Jonathan C. Ward, whose black-and-white photograph of Goodson’s funeral procession traveling on the Interstate 95 overpass has been shared more than 500 times on Facebook, is now selling prints and canvases of the photo to benefit the family. They can be found at jcwardphotography.com.
“The day after I took it, people were asking me if I could buy it, and police departments from across the state started contacting me as well,” he said. “I said yes, but decided that all proceeds will be going to this family.”
Robert Walker, of R.J.’s photography in Fairmont, is selling photographs he took at Goodson’s funeral at http:// rjwalker.photoreflect.com, with proceeds benefitting the family.
Melissa Kinlaw and Tammy Coleman, whose husbands are employed at the Lumberton Police Department, have placed boxes in the Sheriff’s Office, Lumberton Police Department and Southeastern Lifestyle Fitness Center to collect donations of baby items for Josiah.
“I felt like out of respect we needed to continue showing our support to her,” Kinlaw said of Lametria Goodson.
Jennifer Ellinger, receptionist at the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office, is holding an Avon fundraiser for Goodson’s family at http://jellinger.avonrepresentative.com/. Ellinger said she will also have a table set up on Aug. 11 at the “Night Out & Cruise-in” in downtown St. Pauls.
A memorial fund has been created in Lametria Goodson’s name at State Employees Credit Union. Donations can be made by cash, check or money order at either the 4840 Fayetteville Road or the 2739 W. Fifth St. locations.
A memorial 5K run/walk called “Walk out your Dreams” created by Goodson’s uncle Dwayne and former Lumberton Police Chief Robert Grice has been set for April 20, 2013. According to a Facebook page for the event, the walk will raise money for scholarships in Goodson’s name. A website is at walkoutyourdreams.webs.com.
“It amazes me to see our communities pulling together to help the family,” reads a post by Teresa Stone McNeill on Jeremiah Goodson’s memorial Facebook page. “This is how it used to be, how I remember people coming together to help one another … . I think we’ve seen a glimpse of what used to be prevalent but now seems rare … .”
Goodson was shot four times and died of a wound to his chest on July 17 at the Shell gas station and Xpress Depot on Fayetteville Road. Goodson, who was off-duty, was serving a warrant on 27-year-old Marques Ramon Brown, who is charged with first-degree murder.