The dash between Cody Hawkins’ birth date and the day he died represents a short but treasured life.

That’s what Cody’s aunt, Shanna Childs, said at a memorial and celebration of his life Monday. It marked what would have been Cody’s 25th birthday, and his friends and family gathered by the dozens at his grave in Evening Star Cemetery to remember him.

“So many people are out here today because in these 25 years, he affected so many people’s lives,” Childs said of her nephew.

Hawkins was slain by a single bullet fired in a drive-by shooting May 19 on Pearl Street. Since then, Greenwood police have worked to interview people and scour for evidence, but key witnesses have remained silent.

That silence is baffling to Cody’s mother, Ethel Hawkins Smith. Her quest for justice and answers has taken her and her family through untold anguish, and she said it’s still a daily struggle knowing there are people who haven’t spoken up who could help solve this case.

“If any of y’all know something, say something. Don’t let Cody die in vain,” she said. “Tell what you know.”

Mourning her son hasn’t gotten any easier, and Smith said she was honestly dreading his birthday approaching. But surrounded by family and friends, she and the others released 25 balloons in Cody’s honor, many with loving notes written on them in honor of their slain loved one. Almost everyone was wearing a custom shirt, with designs honoring Cody and remembering him for his loving demeanor.

If he were here today, Smith said her son would probably have been hard at work on his birthday, then he’d come home to care for his son, Cameron. Cody loved his family and friends, and always wanted to be around the people closest to him, Smith said.

“Cody had got hurt about 10 months ago and he was in a wheelchair and both of his feet was propped up,” she said. “But no matter that he was hurt and wounded, he still wanted to be with his friends. He had them pick him up in the wheelchair and take him all the way to the little area he hangs out at.”

Cody had nothing but love for the people he considered friends and Smith said that’s what’s frustrating about the lack of answers in his case. He was with people he considered friends when he died, yet there are some people who have not come forward with information for police.

“If it was your brother, would you tell? If it was your mother, would you tell,” she asked. “You’re holding somebody’s justice in your hands because you won’t tell. I don’t understand, I just don’t understand.”

If given the chance to speak to Cody one more time, Smith said she would remind her son of something she used to tell him constantly.

“No one’s going to love you like me,” she said. “I don’t care who you hang with, nobody’s going to love you like me.”

Contact staff writer Damian Dominguez at 864-634-7548

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