Dozens of people gathered Nov. 10 at Perry’s Bait and Tackle to honor and remember Jessica Lynn Hill, who was killed in September 2017.
They ate, they tied fishing rigs, they had their faces painted, had photos taken and donated money that was passed on to the Family Justice Center of Georgetown and Horry counties. Proceeds from the event will also be used to fund an artificial marine reef in the waters off Murrells Inlet.
“We’re very close to our goal for the reef if not over it,” said Claire Collins, the manager at Perry’s bait and Tackle. She put together the second annual benefit in memory of Hill, who left behind three young children.
Collins hoped to raise enough money to drop the reef as well as to assist the Family Justice Center in its effort to protect battered women, both of which were dear to Hill’s heart, Collins said.
Hill and Eric Justin Perry, who has been charged in Jessica’s death, were planning to drop an artificial reef in memory of Perry’s father, Winston, at the time of her death.
Perry remains in custody in the Georgetown County jail while his case is pending.
State Sen. Stephen Goldfinch and with Vicki Bourus, executive director of the Family Justice Center, spoke during the fundraiser. Goldfinch said he intends to look into the possibility of making battered women a protected class in terms of employment opportunities and other benefits.
“I’m going to look into the legality of it, see if there is something we can do,” Goldfinch said, adding it’s difficult to hold down a job if a woman is being treated for injuries and trauma caused by domestic violence.
While Bourus and Goldfinch spoke publicly, others left written messages. Kylie Vaughn was one of them.
“We came because one of our sons is the same age as Jessica’s son, Aiden, and our other son is the same age as Bella [Jessica’s daughter],” Vaughn said.
Ny’Angel Vereen was sharing a table with Hazel Wright, who created “love bracelets,” for sale to raise money during the benefit. “I didn’t know Jessica, but Hazel did, and it’s all for a good cause,” Ny’Angel said.