July 29 Arrest Report

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Domestic Violcence Arrests

  In recent weeks, the Saluda County Sheriff’s Office has made multiple arrests related to domestic violence.
  Christopher Sample - Domestic Violence 3rd Degree
  Cory Duncan - Domestic Violence 2nd Degree
  Cecil Byers - Domestic Violence 2nd Degree
  Ricardo Vazquez - Domestic Violence 3rd Degree, Possession of Methamphetamine
  Fred Duncan - Domestic Violence 2nd Degree
  Elijah Phillips - Domestic Violence 3rd Degree


Public Address Announcer Teaches
Community, Passion to Midlands Youth

By John Kocsis Jr.

NOTE: The following article appeared on the Columbia Fireflies website and on social media, and is reprinted with permission.

  “Now batting, first base-man, number 15, Juan Carlos Negret!” A voice from the speakers at Segra Park bellows. Most nights, that voice is Dr. Bryan Vacchio, who has been working at Segra Park since it opened in 2016.
  That’s not all that Vacchio does though. During regular business hours, Dr. Vacchio is the Director of School Counseling at Saluda High School. He’s been in that role since 2019, but has been in counseling at both Saluda and River Bluff High Schools since 2007. Vacchio wasn’t always working in student assistance though, his career started as a DJ years before he was involved with students in high school.
  Prior to his time in high schools, Vacchio was an entrepreneur, as the owner and operator of Rafters of Five Points, where he would DJ and host events in the Midlands and at night clubs. After about 10 years in that scene, he decided he needed a change of pace and went back to the University of South Carolina to obtain an Educational Specialist degree in Counselor Education in 2006 and eventually a Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education in 2012.
  “I decided I wanted to go back to graduate school because I had always seen counseling as a potential career and I did not see myself being able to operate a bar into my 60’s and 70’s and raise kids and grandkids while working in that type of environment.”
  Yes, the lifestyle change was an adjustment, but he still found ways to do what he loved from an entertainment aspect in a different environment that he could remain comfortable in. He started off with a passion project, providing announcements at Saluda baseball and softball games, but his work grew from there.
  “It started as a pet project,” Vacchio explains. “I asked Coach Brent Wilder of the Saluda baseball team if I could announce their game, and he said he didn’t mind and that it was normally a parent who did it normally. Then baseball turned into the softball team telling me they wanted to do it too.”
  It didn’t stop with just high school events though. Vacchio has had the opportunity to PA sporting events at the University of South Carolina, and eventually nailed down his position with the Fireflies as well.
  At the end of the day, Bryan is so much more than just a voice for the Fireflies though. The Inwood, New York-native is an advocate for the community and the kids that he works with on a daily basis.
  When the doctor looks back at his time with the Fireflies, the first thing he remembers is a community event that the team put together in 2016, where the Fireflies staff showed up to local little league fields and brought speakers and promotional items to make the games just like going to Segra Park to watch a Fireflies game.
  “The things that this team is able to bring to the table to families and the community isn’t quantifiable. You don’t even have to be a baseball fan,” Vacchio says. “It’s a tremendous value for family entertainment and to be a part of someone’s summer soundtrack is an absolute privilege for me.”
  That’s who Dr. Vacchio is though. He’s an individual who takes pride in being able to help others. That’s why he’s been so successful guiding high schoolers for the last decade.
  “I’ve always found it rather fascinating that a lot of my students in high schools are looking for non-traditional careers, such as those in sports or music or other things similar to that. To have the opportunity to work as a game day staffer for a sports team gives me a chance to introduce my students to possibilities that they may never have thought of.” Vacchio remarks.
  Don’t just take it from me though, listen to some of the students that he has helped start their journey with the Columbia Fireflies.
  Jared DePiro is a 2021 University of South Carolina graduate, who has been working as a game day employee for the Columbia Fireflies since 2019. He works on the game day audio for the Fireflies, playing the songs and sound effects that fans hear over the speakers at Segra Park.
  He met Dr. Vacchio when he was in high school at River Bluff and says he wouldn’t be pursuing his career in sports without the Fireflies PA announcer. That career in sports that just took its next step. DePiro is an Orlando, Florida-native, who grew up rooting for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and now, less than a year after graduating with his Bachelor’s Degree, DePiro has accepted a position as a member of the Buccaneers’ Street Team.
  DePiro finds his role with the Fireflies, one that Vacchio recommended him for, to be vital to his next step in his career. “Getting any experience in the sports industry is vital because you get to see the ins-and-outs, especially just experiencing the crazy hours working in sports can have. Because the Fireflies are the only professional sports team in Columbia, having the opportunity to get that experience in college is really great for anyone trying to work in any pro sports league.”
  It doesn’t stop just there. Another former Gator, Wade Brazell, is currently a News Specialist at WFXG Fox 54 in Augusta, and he learned vital skills through his job as a video production assistant with the Fireflies that allowed him to move into his career in news. “Working with the Fireflies helped me get this job in Augusta because the Fireflies were running a lot of similar equipment and machines that we use here at WFXG.” Brazell reflects.
  The press box isn’t the only place that Bryan’s students have been able to find success. Claire Edwards is the Fireflies Merchandise Intern for the 2021 season, and Bryan helped pave a path for her to start her career in sports with the local Minor League team. Claire has known him since she was at River Bluff High School, but Bryan also announced her games when she played volleyball for the University of South Carolina. “Bryan is always willing to help out anyone he can, and he has definitely helped me get to where I want to be as I grow my professional career in sports.” Edwards says.
  Vacchio has established a pipeline of successful students who have brought their way from local high schools and the University of South Carolina to start their career with the Fireflies. To him, the important thing is finding something that the kids can enjoy as they grow into adults and young professionals.
  “I love the notion of being a connection to allow people this opportunity where they can learn what they want to do with their lives. It’s an awesome feeling to know that even some of the silly things we do at the high school level have parlayed themselves into bonified opportunities for the kids.” Vacchio tells.
  That’s what it’s all about at the end of the day. The Fireflies have a High School Director, whose job is to have his voice heard by everyone in Segra Park, but rather than making it about him, Vacchio chooses to use his voice as a beacon to give back to the community.