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Youth foundation started in honor of late Florence officer

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FLORENCE – Lt. Samuel Toney, a 39-year veteran of the Florence police force, is remembered as a pillar of local law enforcement who strived to uplift young people. Even though he died of natural causes in May, his mission lives on.

Lt. Toney’s youngest daughter, Samantha Toney, has started the Samuel Lee Toney Foundation to carry on her father’s work in helping youth in the Florence area realize their full potential.

Samantha said donations made to the foundation will go toward Florence children who want to enter a career in either law or self-sustaining entrepreneurship.

She said those two areas were her father’s biggest passions, and much of what he did with Florence’s youth revolved around those two areas.

“My dad had an outrageous heart for helping people and he did little for himself,” Samantha said. “Even the things he did for himself I think were to allow him to help people even more. So this money will go toward helping children in Florence pursue a career that my father poured his heart into.”

For more than 10 years, with the help of the police department, Lt. Toney orchestrated Camp Fever to give low-income and troubled youth a safe, educational haven during the summer months.

Samantha said some funds from the foundation will be allocated for reviving that camp.

“It hasn’t been active for about six years because funding wasn’t there, but that was something he looked forward to every year and I know he would be glad to see it back up and running,” she said. “He put so much passion and so much energy into it … It’s important to get his vision back up an d running.”

Toney was serving as a squad commander in the uniformed patrol division at the time of his death.

“Lt. Toney was well respected in and outside of the city of Florence.,” Police Chief Allen Heidler said after Toney’s death. “He was a community police officer long before anyone ever thought about that as being the most effective law enforcement practice.”

The foundation is accepting donations that can be deposited at Florence are First Citizen Banks. For more information , contact Samantha K. Toney at 843-407-8318.

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