South Carolina Family Funneling Grief Into Helping The Needy

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — He was known as TFew.

He loved to build things. To hunt and fish and be outdoors. Friends and family say he was always smiling.

Thomas Few would have been a junior at Clemson had he not slipped from the roof of a garage at the Kappa Alpha House across the street from the school on a hot June day in 2019, and died.

His family had moved to Greenville from Columbia in 2017. Thomas, his twin MacRae and older brother Evans graduated from A.C. Flora High School. They also have a younger sister MaryWesley. Another brother, Jennings, had died in 2004 of sudden infant death syndrome before MaryWesley was born.

Thomas’ father, Wes, is a lawyer; his mother, Kimberly has recently opened a curation business, where she takes found items and turns them into something useful.

Friends and family from across the state filled the huge sanctuary at Buncombe Street United Methodist Church for his funeral. It was estimated 1,800 people attended.

The family asked that instead of buying flowers, people give to Emmanuel’s Hammer, a non-profit that repairs or rebuilds unsafe homes at no cost and works with the homeowner to meet other critical needs they may have — financial, physical and spiritual.

“Money was pouring in,” Kimberly Few said Wednesday.

They knew they needed to do something special.

And so on Sunday they will dedicate the H2O House on the campus of the Frazee Center, a Greenville organization that grew over the past 16 years from a simple afterschool program to operating a preschool, an elementary after-school and summer camp, a middle school leadership program, several sports teams, a counseling center and a mentorship program.

The H2O House, which stands for health, hygiene and opportunity, is a renovated single-family home that has laundry facilities, showers, a living room and break room for families in need.

The Few family has also donated to a new chapel on Clemson’s campus and has established a scholarship in Thomas’ major, construction science.

“I’m a very faith-based person,” Kimberly Few said. “There’s a tragedy. It’s sad but at the end of the day how are people living their lives? What are they doing to help those in need.”

Organizations have volunteered to renovate the house — their church, Buncombe Street, Thomas’ fraternity Kappa Alpha, among them.

“Thomas made a great impact on the world,” Few said. “No negativity. He loved people.”

It was important to her after his death that his friends continued to feel that. She worked to make sure they were OK after Thomas’ death.

“No guilt, no shame,” she said.

They were great friends and had great times together. That’s the memory she hopes they hold onto.

She has made it through the deaths of two sons by the grace of God, she said.

“I have been surrounded by a community of believers, statewide and beyond,” she said.