By Sylvia Gonzalez
STANTON - For the past 21 years, the Old Sorehead Trade Days Committee has been giving money to different organizations around town. This year, they gave money to seven organizations including Martin County Sheriff's Department. They received $3,000 and Martin County Sheriff John Woodward told NewsWest 9 what they will be buying with that money.
"We have a great need for vests. We've had some incidents in the past we've actually taken some fire," Woodward said.
Woodward says that some of his deputies have had to buy their own bulletproof vest. All vests have an expiration date, which means after a few years, they have to be replaced. He says even if the county wanted to purchase the vests on their own, it's simply not within their budget.
"Vests are something that is an expensive item, so it's really not a lack of the county by any means, it has just been a budgeting issue because it's something you don't purchase every year and they are quite expensive. It just worked out really well for us for Trade Days to do this for us," Woodward said.
According to Shawna Burch, who is the Director of Martin County Community Development, this is this is the first time the department has received the generous gift. She says the department does so much for them not only during Trade Days but every day and they wanted to show their appreciation.
"They are out there protecting our county around the clock, if we can do something to help them feel safer then we are all for it," Burch said.
One bulletproof vest that is being used in the department is over 15 years old. Woodward says buying new vests will make their deputies feel safer when going to a scene.
"Wearing a vest makes a difference. Wen you have a vest on, it's just an extra sense of security in case you do catch a round. They have saved a lot of officer's lives," Woodward said.
Sheriff Woodward says they will provide every deputy with their own adequate vest and will be placing the order within the next couple of days.