One man’s personal struggles inspire ‘Honor Bands’

Columbia, SC (WOLO) —  For one Charlotte man, Tragedy has defined him. Not in a negative way, instead he has turned his person struggles into hundreds of thousands of inspirational messages.

Thursday, Dentis Shaw went to share some of that inspiration with the University of South Carolina Track team.

“We created this to hopefully stop violence in our nation and to honor these people. What do you do when you lose a loved one? You honor them. That’s why we started this, to honor those who have lost their lives.”

One of the people he hopes to honor is his late wife… a Benedict College graduate… who died in 2007.

“She died of breast cancer. I was hurting and sad. When they had the shooting at Virginia Tech, I was burying my wife here in Columbia South Carolina. It touched my heart to go there to be with them. I went there for a day and came back and created a message called, ‘Love, forgive and stop the violence.’”

His son also passed away from cancer and his brother from gun violence. Shaw’s friend and USC track coach Curtis Frye thought that his message would be good motivation for his team.

 “Sometimes I think they’re nervous and feel like there’s too much pressure. When you think of it as a blessing, you’re fortunate. Mr. Shaw is one to get us to see how blessed and fortunate we are.”

Coach Frye says he feels blessed for leading the Gamecocks track team for 26 years.

 “It’s hanging out with the young people and also making an impact on their lives.  Look back and see how many people we got who are lawyers, doctors, or engineers and were national champions. Giving kids an opportunity to go to a great university.”

Some of the track team members also have a great opportunity next week as they head to Bloomington Indiana for the east regionals. The top performers there compete for the National Championship in Eugene Oregon.

We got 27 going. If we can have 14 in Oregon , I’ll be quite happy.”

Shaw gave the whole team honor bands before they head off for competition. 

 “When they’re heading to the race, I want them to know they got people caring about them, but also to represent your moms and dads. That’s what I want to do with my life, make someone else proud. That’s what they’re doing as athletes here.”

Shaw has given honor bands out after several tragedies including Charleston, Sandy Hook Connecticut, Parkland, Florida, las Vegas, and says he plans to bring the honor bands to Buffalo, and Ukraine in the coming months.


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