With more than 40 years spent serving as a law enforcement officer, Tomlinson loved his community.
Since his death in January, the Tomlinson family was blessed to hear countless stories of how Charles Tomlinson quietly served others, never looking for recognition. He was frequently seen praying with those he arrested and giving rides to anyone who needed one.
“He never said an unkind thing about anyone,” said Alyson Atchley, Tomlinson’s daughter.
His care and compassion naturally extended to Sherry’s Run, a local grassroots nonprofit that benefits families battling cancer in and around Wilson County. The Tomlinson family started participating in the event in 2004, the year it began, and their support increased each year.
“The support Sherry’s Run gives just means so much,” Atchley said. “It stays here in our community and relieves the financial strain of these families.”
The cause became more personal for Charles Tomlinson in 2013 when his nephew, Clint Tomlinson, was diagnosed and needed assistance. Clint Tomlinson received support from Sherry’s Run and, like his uncle, was determined to pay it forward. The family formed “Clint’s Crusaders” in his honor and continues that legacy. This year, the team will be called “Clint’s Crusaders: Killer Strong” in memory of both beloved men.
Charles Tomlinson believed supporting Sherry’s Run was what God wanted him to do to serve others, and his family agreed. But his service didn’t stop there. His verse to live by came from Isaiah, “Here am I, send me,” and he truly lived that out. Charles Tomlinson was active at Immanuel Baptist Church and was specifically passionate about their backpack program, which provides school supplies for children in the community each year. But most importantly, Charles Tomlinson was an incredible blessing to those closest to him, especially his granddaughter, Charley, who was named in his honor.
Charles Tomlinson was a fighter and beat cancer multiple times himself. In 2008, they found it in his lungs. After surgery, he went right back to work doing what he loved to protect and serve his community. In 2014, it was back, and this time Killer went through chemotherapy and radiation treatments, but he fought through and was still able to return to work in a part-time capacity. So, in 2016 when the doctors said “brain tumor,” the family was still optimistic he could fight it.
When more tumors showed up on the MRI, they realized it was time.
“He was heaven bound at that point,” said Joyce Tomlinson, his wife of 48 years.
The family enjoyed precious moments with Killer throughout the holiday season, and he died Jan. 25, leaving a legacy of love and service for everyone who knew him and even many who didn’t.
The 14th annual Sherry’s Run 5K will be dedicated to the memory of Charles “Killer” Tomlinson.
Registration is open at sherrysrun.org for the 14th annual Sherry’s Run-Walk event Sept. 9 at 8 a.m. at 623 W. Main St. in Lebanon. Support allows Sherry’s Run to assist cancer patients 52 weeks a year with gas, groceries, utility bills, housing payments, prescription assistance, health insurance premiums, medical bills and colonoscopy assistance.
To learn more about Sherry’s Run, call 615-925-2592. To refer someone who might qualify for assistance, call 615-925-9932 or visit sherrysrun.org.