MATTHEWS – The Rotary Club of Matthews recognized Quincy Smith with Officer of the Month honors for June after he helped a homeless woman in an electric wheelchair get to where she needed to go.
The woman was waiting for a bus outside a restaurant along U.S. 74. Her plan was to take the bus to a Walmart to cash a check and then take another bus to the train station where she'd eventually connect with family to get help.
After talking with the woman, Smith realized her oxygen tank was running low and she didn't have enough money to buy the train ticket. It started to rain during her wait.
After he was done with work, Smith returned to help the woman. He loaded her luggage in his vehicle and followed the bus to the downtown station. Smith gave her enough money to board the train.
Dina Braun, of the Rotary Club of Matthews, recounted this story to fellow Rotarians during their July 12 meeting. Braun said Smith went above and beyond the call of duty and showed compassion.
Smith has worked eight years in law enforcement. Prior to joining the Matthews Police Department in 2020, Smith served with the Estill (S.C.) Police Department, where he made national news for getting shot on duty at point blank range.
The shooting, as well as Smith's plea to dispatch to “tell my family I love them,” was caught on his body camera. The footage has been shared with national audiences and can be found on YouTube.
“It was amazing,” Braun told Rotarians of the body cam footage while holding back tears. “I saw that and I just cried. I'm so thankful for what you do for our community.”
The Rotary Club of Matthews has been recognizing police officers for more than a year now. Police Chief Clark Pennington said the stories shared by Rotarians epitomize community policing.
“They recognize here in Matthews that their job is bigger than handcuffs and citations,” Pennington said of his officers. “Their job is about building relationships.”
Rotarian Matthew Shuler explained how Officer Hoza Scott won Officer of the Month for May.
Scott approached a parked car on May 31 to find a man visibly impaired. Scott had the man get out of the car and sit on the ground. They talked for about 20 minutes.
Rather than arresting the suspect, Scott took the man to his family. The man entered rehab soon after.
“Instead of adding to the guy's troubles, he helped him out and allowed him to help himself,” Shuler said.
Rotarian Joe Grooms recognized Detective Lori Valdes as Officer of the Month for April.
Grooms told how Valdes came up with a plan to secure a safer living situation for a victim. The victim initially sought a restraining order, but Valdes arranged an involuntary commitment and criminal charges against the suspect.