AMERICUS, GA (WALB) - An annual golf tournament took on a new meaning for Americus and the Sumter County Sheriff's Office, honoring recently fallen officers.
Wednesday's Sumter County Sheriff's Charity Golf Tournament benefits at-risk children, all in the name of two fallen officers who still mean so much to the community.
"We were 24/7 together. Just whatever we did, we were together," said Matt McKenzie, who had been friends with Officer Nick Smarr and Officer Jody Smith for more than 15 years. "Of course it's for them two. It's for the sheriff's department, for a good cause and just supporting our brothers."
"It's just a solemn occasion because of these two young men," said Sumter County Sheriff Pete Smith.
Organizers decided the 30th Annual Sumter County Sheriff's Charity Golf Tournament would honor Americus Police Officer Smarr and Georgia Southwestern State University Campus Safety Officer Smith.
Both men died in the line of duty in December.
"How close we were, we felt like brothers," said McKenzie.
Wednesday, two of the officers' closest friends hit the links to play in their memory.
McKenzie and another friend, Josh Roberts, got emotional thinking about the missing members of their friend group, which is known as the "Bros."
About 10 people strong, the group had been together for years.
"We were just that close. We loved each other very much," said McKenzie.
"That's so supportive of them," said Sheriff Smith of the "Bros" golfing. "That's the kinda guys (Officer Smith and Officer Smarr) were. When you saw Nick, you saw Jody. When you saw Jody, you saw Nick. They were always together."
Officer Smith's mother, a Sergeant with the Sumter County Sheriff's Office, sponsored the team of four men, all with a close connection to the officers.
"Their presence, and seeing them everywhere, it doesn't surprise me how big they were then and how much bigger they are now," said McKenzie.
Each team paid $240 to compete.
The proceeds will go to the Hahira Georgia Sheriffs' Youth Home campus.
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