LENOIR CITY, Tenn. (WATE) – A Knox County organization is making sure law enforcement is safe on the job: Vest for Life, based out of Corryton, recently providing bulletproof vests for two chaplains with the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office.
David Choate, Chaplain Coordinator with LCSO, says their six chaplains generally minister to officers and the community by riding along with the officers to emergency calls.
Choate telling WATE 6 On Your Side there were two chaplains who did not have their own ballistic vests and because of procedures, they could not do ride-a longs. That’s now changed because of the gift from Vest for Life.
“God wants us to spiritually armor up, but he also gives us the common sense to put on the armor that we need. If an officer was to go onto a scene without his weapon, without his tools, how vulnerable would he be? And if we’re going along with them, it would make us vulnerable. I never want one of our officers to be so concerned about me as a chaplain. I want them to know I’m protected and it gives me peace fo mind to know that I’m protected,” said Choate.
Since the founding of Vest for Life, we’re told more than 11,000 ballistic vests have been donated, with no cost to departments, to first responders across our nation.
“This armor can cost anywhere from 500 to 1,200 to 1,300 dollars a piece,” said Doug Kiser, president of Vest for Life – St. Michael’s Shield.
We’re told this life-saving equipment goes to front-line officers, chaplains and reserve officers.
“It’s estimated that approximately 40-percent of sworn police officers in the U.S. do not have body armor. So our project, over the last 11-years, has gotten almost 11,000 vests out to some of those officers, but we’ve still got a long way to go,” said Kiser.
He says just recently, Vest for Life received a gift from Marion County, Indiana. They donated more than 400 ballistic vests to be cleaned, refurbished, tested and given to law enforcement officers in need. Kiser adding this is the largest donation they’ve ever received.
If you would like to help provide this basic safety equipment, you can make a financial donation which will pay for the shipping and distributing costs. You can make a donation online here, or you can make a check out to Vest for Life and mail it to:
St. Michael’s Shield
c/o Vest for Life Inc.
6501 Booher Rd.
Corryton, TN 37721
We’re told donations are tax-deductible. The St. Michael’s Shield Project, Inc. (Tax ID: 83-1874520 is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.