Author: james

Here are the newspaper articles written over the years about Carol Armstrong

The undefeated: Carol Armstrong

Monday, April 28, 2008

On Independence Day 2002, a vicious criminal used a shovel to beat and rob a cleaning woman outside a North Charleston office building, blinding her in one eye and paralyzing her left side. Such a cruel fate would drive most people to despair. Carol Armstrong is clearly not most people.

As Nadine Parks reported in Thursday’s Post and Courier, Mrs. Armstrong, at age 43, isn’t looking back. She’s looking forward with an inspiring attitude and getting lots of inspiring assistance from compassionate members of our community. As Mrs. Armstrong told our reporter: “I won’t let an evil man with a shovel ruin our family. He has not defeated me.”

Nor has that brute, now serving a 20-year sentence, defeated the good people of the Charleston Trident Home Builders Association — people who are doing all they can to help the Armstrong family.

After the attack, Mrs. Armstrong was in and out of comas, had numerous surgeries over a three-month span and had many more months in therapy before returning to her North Charleston home. While finally going home was a welcome change, the relatively small house lacked assorted wheelchair-accessible features she and her family sorely needed.

Those limitations are about to end for Mrs. Armstrong, her husband and two sons. The builders group broke ground Friday on a large (2,400 square feet) new home for the Armstrongs in Knightsville, with volunteers doing the work and private donations covering the costs of materials. The wheelchair-friendly features will include a ramp from the house into the back yard, where Mrs. Armstrong plans to get “my hands in the dirt” by growing herbs and tomatoes. The kitchen also will be constructed in a manner that maximizes her access.

Builders Association Executive Vice President Philip Ford said one goal for the project is to try “to build them a house, debt-free.” Assorted fundraising initiatives will continue to advance this worthy cause.

Mrs. Armstrong expressed “guilt” over being the beneficiary of such generosity, pointing out that others need more help than she does. She also insisted: “I don’t want to be remembered as some tragedy. I want people to remember that we triumphed over tragedy, and we’re still together as a family.”

Such grace under devastating duress provides an uplifting reminder of how resilient and resourceful good folks can be when the going gets tough. So if you think you’ve been dealt a lousy hand, learn a positive lesson from the admirable examples of the Armstrongs — and their many friends.

Copyright © 1997 – 2007 the Evening Post Publishing Co.

Update: Carol Armstrong – Determined to prevail

Community unites to help victim of beating

The Post and Courier
Thursday, April 24, 2008

Armstrong benefit

A groundbreaking ceremony for construction of Carol Armstrong’s wheelchair-accessible home is scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday at 704 Tierra Loop in the Hidden Hills subdivision off Central Avenue in Knightsville. A spaghetti dinner will follow from 6 to 8 p.m. at Knight’s Barn, 2400 U.S. Highway 17A in Summerville. The event includes line dancers and an open bar. Tickets cost $30 and can be purchased by credit card at or at the door. Proceeds will benefit the Armstrong family. For more information, call the Charleston Trident Home Builders Association at 572-1414.

Carol Armstrong doesn’t want to be remembered as that woman who was beaten viciously in the head when she finished cleaning an office building in North Charleston.

The attack left her confined to a wheelchair and blind in one eye, the left side of her body paralyzed.

That’s not where Armstrong, 43, wants the story to end. When people think of her, she wants them to see a family that was victorious.

“I won’t let an evil man with a shovel ruin our family,” she said. “He has not defeated me.”

Help is on the way. The Charleston Trident Home Builders Association plans to make her goals a reality.

Late on June 4, 2002, Armstrong finished cleaning Carolina Eye Center in North Charleston. As she locked the door from the outside, someone came from behind and beat her in the head until she was unconscious. The man took her car and left her for dead.

A family member found her hours later. She doesn’t remember anything from the attack.

She spent the next three months at Medical University Hospital, slipping in and out of comas and having surgery after surgery.

After two months in Atlanta for therapy and three months in a local nursing facility, she finally went home to her family.

Hugh Bolin III pleaded guilty to charges of armed robbery and assault and battery with intent to kill. He’s serving a 20-year-sentence in a Columbia prison.

Now, Armstrong’s life is a small track from the kitchen to the computer in the living room. The door frames are too small for her wheelchair to make it anywhere else in the 1,200-square-foot house off Ashley Phosphate Road. Her family has to help her get into her bedroom.

She can’t tuck her 10-year-old son Daniel into bed or check on her 15-year-old son Jaime. Her husband, James, an electronics engineer, has to do almost everything. She’s pretty much stuck.

On Friday, the builders association breaks ground on a 2,400-square-foot, wheelchair-accessible home in Knightsville for the Armstrongs. The materials have been donated by the community. All of the work will be done by volunteers.

There will be a ramp into the house from the two-car garage, and one from the back door. She’ll be able to roll out to the yard, play some horseshoes with the boys and grow some herbs and tomatoes. “I miss getting my hands in the dirt,” Armstrong said.

In the kitchen, she will be able to reach the counters and the stove. She’s looking forward to brushing her hair in front of a vanity and using the bathroom sink. She’s been brushing her teeth at the kitchen table for years.

The support from the community is enormous. Area residents and businesses have donated $13,000. A volunteer designer drew the plans for the house, and a volunteer construction supervisor will oversee the work. The plumbers and electricians are all donating their time. Construction is expected to take six to eight months.

“We have everything we need to start construction,” said Phillip Ford, executive vice president for the builders association. “We’re trying to build them a house, debt-free.”

Ford hopes to raise enough money for the Armstrongs to pay off the mortgage on the $75,000 lot and to buy the family a wheelchair-accessible van. Proceeds from a spaghetti dinner fundraiser Friday night will go to that cause, he said.

Armstrong is overwhelmed by the outpouring. She says there are so many other people that need help, and she feels guilty to be the recipient of so much attention.

Her goal, once she’s able to move around and reach things in her new house, is to be as self-sufficient as possible. Maybe she can cook a meal, or at least help. Surely she can take some of the load, she said.

“I don’t want to be remembered as some tragedy,” Armstrong said. “I want people to remember that we triumphed over tragedy, and we’re still together as a family.”

Related stories

Cleaning woman beaten and robbed06/12/02

Family turns prayers, energy to helping beating victim06/15/02

Beating suspect caught in extensive 3-day manhunt06/15/02

A MOMENT IN TIME: Theirs is a love story, one that survived a brutal night that changed everything10/13/02


Benefits will help family of badly beaten woman03/02/03

Man gets 20 years for beating woman05/20/03

On Father’s Day, some old-fashioned honor06/19/05

A passage of time03/26/06

Reach Nadine Parks at or 937-5573.

Published Tuesday, April 29, 2008 5:14 PM
Updated Tuesday, April 29, 2008 5:15 PM


Sharon Gnau
Carol is the first to break ground on her family’s new home.

Carol comes home

Home builders unit to aid handicapped woman

Things are looking up for Carol Armstrong. She is a world away from where she was in 2002. While locking up after cleaning a medical building, a stranger attacked Armstrong, brutally beating her and leaving her for dead – all for her purse and her car.

The road to recovery has been long and difficult, but Carol is a fighter. She survived the near-death beating and the stroke that followed. Today she is confined to a wheelchair and is partially blind.

One of the more difficult aspects of day-to-day living has been something we all take for granted – the ability to move around the house unimpeded. This is something that Carol has been unable to do because her wheelchair doesn’t fit through the doorways in her home. With the help of her husband James and two sons, Jaime and Alexander, she is able to go into different areas of the house, but she can’t do it independently.

With the help of the Trident Home Builders Association, an organization of professionals dedicated to promoting homeownership through networking, education, advocacy and community service, that will all change. On April 25, Carol broke ground for what will soon be her family’s new handicap accessible home. The home will be built to standards established by the American Disabilities Act. She will be able to get around on her own, cook, paint and go about her daily life without asking for assistance.

“I’m overwhelmed. It’s hard to explain how I feel right now,” Carol said as friends gathered for the groundbreaking ceremony. “I am overwhelmed by the compassion in this community. James and the boys will finally be able to get some relief. It’s been a long time. James never sits down because he’s always doing everything for me.”

Carol says she’s looking forward to being able to go out on her porch on her own, and just sit there and feel the breeze. She wants to work in her yard. She wants to have friends over.

“My family and friends will be able to come over and be comfortable. There will be room for them now,” she says.

After the home site was blessed, Carol was the first person to break ground. She grabbed one of the shovels, and with her right arm and right foot, pounded the shovel through the soil, James helped her toss the dirt aside and gave it back to his wife, who continued to struggle to dig the hole until she was too tired to continue. It was a moment that made guests understand how much this new home would mean to Carol. It also became evident that the horrors they have suffered have only made them stronger.

Contact Sharon Gnau at

Published Tuesday, March 11, 2008 3:23 PM
Updated Tuesday, March 11, 2008 3:24 PM


David Berman
Carol Armstrong was the victim of a brutal attack in 2002 that left her partially paralyzed and almost blind.

Space needed

Brutal attack victim to be recipient of home

Carol Armstrong is fully aware — to the point of frustration — that her current home has limitations.

“I know my failures here,” she says.

Growing up a tomboy in Georgia, Armstrong liked to climb trees. Today, she can’t even go outside to tend a garden or to watch her two sons play.

Like most women, she used to get ready in front of a vanity. Today, she brushes her teeth at the kitchen table.

When Armstrong’s children are under the weather, “I can’t get to them,” she says. “I can’t do the things a mom does when they’re sick.”

And cooking? “I don’t even think about cooking,” she says.

Bound to a wheelchair, Armstrong has great difficulty navigating through the home’s narrow doorways and hallways. She constantly looks to her family for assistance.

It’s obvious that Armstrong adores her husband — both who he was when she met him and who he has become in her time of need. She admires her sons Jaime, 15, and Alexander, 10, for what they have endured.

“When they help me out, they help their daddy,” she says. “I don’t know if they quite understand that yet.”

Armstrong, now in her 40s, says she is a simple person living a complex life.

Complexity took hold of Armstrong’s life nearly six years ago when she was left partially paralyzed and almost blind following a brutal attack outside a North Charleston medical building. She had just finished cleaning the building around 11 p.m. when a man robbed her, beat her — breaking nearly every bone in her head — and then fled in her car. She clung to life in a Charleston hospital as authorities launched a sweeping manhunt to find her attacker. They caught up with him three days later in North Carolina.

Today, Hugh Bolin III is serving a 20-year concurrent sentence for assault and battery with intent to kill and armed robbery at McCormick Correctional Institution.

Bolin’s living conditions aren’t likely to improve any time soon. The same can’t be said for Armstrong.

In just a few weeks, Armstrong and her family will break ground on a new home in the Hidden Hills subdivision. The project is being spearheaded by the Charleston Trident Home Builders Association and supported by a long list of local companies that have donated or pledged materials and labor.

When the homebuilders Executive Vice President Phillip Ford first learned of Armstrong’s plight and her living conditions two years ago after reading an article in a local newspaper he asked the association’s board to consider funding a renovation of the Armstrongs’ 1,186-square-foot home located off Ashley Phosphate Road.

“We looked at it and it was pretty obvious that there was really no way to effectively remodel it without taking it down,” Ford says.

So the plan shifted toward finding a vacant lot and building a home from scratch. But even that proved difficult as zoning obstacles and other challenges presented themselves.

James became discouraged. “There were things I was thinking I could do here,” he says.

Then last July, James found a lot off Central Avenue. The project was given a green light.

The proposed 2,449-square-foot home boasts wide hallways and doorways, sliding pocket doors, ramps, hardwood floors that will allow the wheelchair to glide freely, accessible backyard garden boxes, a roll-in shower, hydraulic closet shelves for easier access, and Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant appliances.

Site supervisor Jordy Tupper of G Tupper III construction, who is volunteering his time, says he’s honored to be involved.

“I love what I do anyway, but especially when I can help someone who needs it,” Tupper says.

The house is quickly becoming a reality to all those involved, except maybe Armstrong herself.

“I’m overwhelmed that this is actually taking place,” Armstrong says. “I say I won’t believe it until it’s up and I can roll through it.”

If Armstrong’s skeptical, it’s because she doesn’t feel entirely deserving. She’s more concerned with what the aftermath of the attack has done to James and her sons than what it has done to her. She harbors guilt for the fact that she has to rely on them so much.

James doesn’t deny that he will find relief from the new house. But he’s most excited by the prospect of his wife having a study where she can paint and connect with friends through e-mail and her living in a house where she can regain her independence.

Ford would like to see Armstrong regain something else.

“I’m hoping that Carol feels like a mother again and can do the things that make her feel like a mother,” he says.

Contact David Berman at 873-9424 ext. 214 or


The Charleston Trident Home Builders Association is seeking donations to help fund the “Carol’s Home” project. Visit or call (843) 572-1414 to learn more.

Published Thursday, April 03, 2008 2:26 PM
Updated Thursday, April 03, 2008 2:26 PM


Groundbreaking set for “Carol’s Home” Extreme Home Makeover

It’s all systems go for the “Carol’s Home” extreme home makeover project happening in Dorchester county.

“Carol’s Home” is the brain child of the Charleston Trident Home Builders Association, which heard about Carol being attacked by a stranger and decided to help by building her a brand new, handicap-accessible home.

The groundbreaking ceremony will be held at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 25, 2008 at the house site (704 Tierra Loop in the Hidden Hills subdivision) in Knightsville.  The ceremony will include a ribbon cutting, blessing and moment of thanks from the Armstrong family.  After the ceremony, a groundbreaking party and fund-raiser will be held at Knight’s Barn, which is located at 2400 17-A in Summerville.

Tickets for the party are $30 each and are on sale at

In 2002, Carol Armstrong was brutally attacked by a stranger as she was locking up a medical building she had just finished cleaning.  The man stole her purse and her car and left her for dead.  Carol survived the attack and a stroke that followed.  The attack left her confined to a wheelchair and partially blind. In her current home, Carol is dependent on her husband and two young sons to move her from room to room, as her wheelchair cannot make it through doorways. Carol’s new home will be built to standards established by the American Disabilities Act. Building the home around Carol’s needs will ensure that she can get around on her own, cook, paint and go about her daily life without asking for assistance.

To read more about the “Carol’s Home” project visit: All media is invited to attend the groundbreaking and the party, please call if you need directions.