Faraway Tragedy Hits Close to Home

OFC Charles Barnhill never imagined flipping through a picture album full of loving memories would ever leave him with a heavy heart.

The album is full of pictures of his family in Thailand who were victims of the deadly tsunami. Barnhill says he saw the story unfold on television and he and his mother began to worry.

Charles Barnhill of the Thomasville Police Department says, "Slowly, we got news of the fate of the our family. By the end of the week we found out all family members that were on the beach were dead."

His aunt, uncle and several cousins were killed. Barnhill, still trying to cope with his losses, is still worried about his family members who survived it.

Barnhill says, "Disease is starting to spread. I'm worried about that."

His law enforcement friends are helping send him and his mother to Phuket to check on surviving family.

SGT Rachelle Denmark says, "He has so many things such as not just getting there, but the stay, food, not just for him, but his family members, they have nothing."

Barnhill adds, "The guys at the station really showed me they’re my true family."

It’s a family that's pulling together to help make this very difficult time easier to bear, and he says his heart overflows with gratitude.