Columbia Police Officer Corey Bowden and his father-in-law David Thomas laughed out loud Thursday night — not an unusual occurrence at the Déjà Vu Comedy Club But for injured Officer Molly Bowden’s husband and father, it was a significant moment.
The two haven’t had much to laugh about, lately. Bowden remained in a drug-induced coma at University Hospital in serious condition after being shot by Richard Evans during a traffic stop the evening of Jan. 10. As of Friday, she was recovering from a serious infection, though a family spokesman said she was continuing to improve.
At the comedy fund-raiser sponsored by Déjà Vu and organized by Officer Todd Smith, laughter seemed good medicine for Bowden’s family and the almost 150 police officers who attended.
Matt Istwan, managing partner of Déjà Vu, estimated that almost $3,500 was raised.
“A lot of the officers came up and said they had needed a good time,” Istwan said.
All the proceeds from the show benefit the Officer Down Fund, which helps supplement long-term care for police injured on duty.
“The fund helps with extra expenses like quality of life issues,” Smith said. “It helps down the road with issues like upgrading a wheelchair if needed, long-term transportation issues and loss of secondary income.”
Headlining comedian John Reep donated his time. Although he lives in Los Angeles, Reep said the cause hit close to home.
“My father was a police officer,” Reep said. “He was shot when I was a kid, and he was in the hospital for a long time. So, when they asked me to do this show, I didn’t hesitate for a second.”
Reep, whose career began in earnest after he starred in a Dodge commercial and ABC’s sitcom “Rodney,” said he gets his sense of humor from his father.
“I play a cop on TV, what kind of cop would I be if I didn’t come out and support?” he said. “Hopefully, we can raise some money, and cheer up some people.”
Many officers expressed how overwhelming the support of the community has been.
“People bring (gift) baskets to the station,” Capt. Brad Nelson said. “There have been a lot of calls and e-mails. During traffic stops people ask how Molly and Curtis are doing.”
Officer Curtis Brown, who attended the fund-raiser, was also shot by Evans on Jan. 11. He is on extended leave after suffering nerve damage to his right arm, where he was shot in the biceps.