The Belmont and Gastonia police departments have become the latest agencies to benefit from the goodwill of Parkdale Mills. President and CEO Andy Warlick donated five ultra-strong body armor vests, valued at $2,000, to Belmont police on behalf of the company late last month. And the textile manufacturer is now contributing more than $38,000 to help Gastonia police purchase upward of 95 more body armor vests.
In addition, Belmont has also received another $2,000 donation from an anonymous donor to purchase five additional vests, said Belmont Police Capt. Basil Marett.
Marett said he can’t emphasize enough how thankful police have been for the assistance.
“We truly appreciate the support we’re getting from citizens who see the dangers we have in our jobs and want to help us protect others,” he said. “These (vests) will help us make sure our officers are safe if they get into a critical situation involving an active shooter.”
Last month, Gaston County commissioners announced their intent to buy stronger bulletproof vests that could be used as needed by county police officers and sheriff’s office deputies. The body armor can be worn over regular protective vests that most officers have, but added benefit comes from the lightweight, 5 mm-thick steel plates that can stop bullets from high-velocity weapons.
After the county announcement, Warlick contacted Commission Chairman Tom Keigher and informed him Parkdale Mills would be donating $82,000 to pay for about 200 of the stronger vests. That freed up county money, prompting the commissioners to spend $21,600 on 55 stronger bulletproof vests that can be worn by Gaston Emergency Medical Services paramedics.
Vests that have been purchased to date with donations from Parkdale Mills have come from Premier Body Armor in Kings Mountain. Each vest weighs a little more than 15 pounds, and when not being worn can be carried from place to place in a special case.
The full story can be found at the Gaston Gazette.