As rain fell unrelentingly last week, Tillman Millhouse Jr. and his neighbors on Waring Street in Summerville watched the water rise.
It covered the street and started seeping into their yards.
"The water was under my house and going in my garage,” Millhouse said of Thursday’s downpour. “It came close to coming in my son’s house (next door).”
Not sure where to turn, the family called Summerville Police for assistance.
Officer Angie Elmer responded.
“She parked her cruiser there and took care of traffic control and before we knew it, she asked for a shovel or rake and started cleaning out the ditch,” said Millhouse, a retired highway patrolman.
Town Fire Chief Richard Waring, who lives nearby, was leaving his house in the early afternoon when he decided to check out some flood-prone areas in the downtown neighborhood.
“I made it as far as Waring and Tallow (streets) before noticing deep water across the road at Simmons and Waring,” he wrote in an email to Police Chief Jon Rogers.
There, he saw Elmer, “in the rain, wading through knee-deep water with a rake making sure the storm drains remained clear, all the while trying to calm the nerves of some of our neighbors as the flood waters were getting closer to their homes," Waring recalled in his email. “This officer could have just as easily remained in her car out of the rain with the lights on to slow traffic, but she made the extra effort to do whatever she could to serve our citizens.”
As it turns out, Elmer, who has only been at Summerville Police Department for a few months, knew Millhouse’s son, Ronald, from the North Charleston Police Department. Ronald Millhouse passed away July 5 and Elmer had attended his funeral.
“She felt real sorry for us, knowing we had a flooding problem and had just spent $40,000 recently to try to fix it," Millhouse said. “It was very touching and unbelievable. All she had to do was sit in the car, but she got out and helped.”
Millhouse Jr.’s daughter, Sharon Millhouse, said she offered rain boots and other gear to Elmer.
“She didn’t accept any of it,” said Sharon Millhouse, a former fire and police dispatcher who now works in the Dorchester County Treasurer’s Office. “She just grabbed a rake and pitchfork from me and went to work. I tried to tell her not to, but she just did it. I hated to see her do it but she said that was her job. She made me very proud that she was a female in the world of law enforcement.”
Elmer and Rogers didn't respond to phone calls and emails seeking comment Tuesday.
In an email to Elmer about the incident, Rogers praised Elmer for "understanding how SPD treats our community and embodying SPD Pride."