Rabun Co., Ga – Shield616 and local resident Tom Madison raise over $90,000 to outfit 33 sheriff’s deputies with new equipment.
Rabun County Sheriff Chad Nichols has sought since 2017 to improve his deputies’ safety through relevant training and adequate equipment especially given the recent rise of officer violence. Additionally, officers have faced more and more active shooter situations and local drug busts.
Deputy Jeffrey Hooper introduced Nichols to resident Tom Madison, who had a relationship with the non-profit Shield616.
Shield616’s motto “protecting our protectors” and the organization focuses on providing all-day rifle protection for peace officers and first responders. It partners with Angel Armor to offer cutting-edge products and give officers the confidence to do their jobs.
After Nichols and Madison’s initial meeting on May 2019, Madison quickly began raising funds with Shield 616, and in two months, they had over $90,000.
Due to their success, donors outfitted 33 deputies with all day, rifle rated protection, which included the School Resource Deputies as well as Nichols.
Angel Armor gear costs $2,100 per deputy and includes one Angel Armor carrier, one level llA soft vest, front and back level lllA rifle plates, and a Revision Batlskin helmet.
Additionally, the extra community donations allowed the Sheriff’s Office to upgrade the initial kits to include an additional plate carrier and a ceramic strike faceplate, which helps protect deputies from a 5.56 round, also known as an armor-piercing bullet.
“The community support for this initiative was simply unbelievable. From Tom leading donation efforts to all donors that were so generous in their giving to support our local deputies, it was a truly humbling experience for all of us. We cannot thank all those involved appropriately,” said Sheriff Nichols. “No one truly understood the magnitude of this event until all stories were told and deputies inspected armor never seen but only hoped for.”
The 33 deputies, Nichols, Madison, and families gathered at The Waterfall Club on Lake Burton on August 29 to celebrate the success of the fundraiser and the tremendous support from everyone.
“This was one of the neatest aspects of utilizing the non-profit organization, Shield616. It included a focus that links a donor to a deputy, not only to provide financial support but to provide a support system for the deputy as well. This approach sets itself apart from any other fundraiser out there,” explained Nichols, “I just want to thank Tom Madison, all the donors, and the deputies who serve our great community daily.”
For more information on how to donate or assist your department, contact Shield616 by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit their website at shield616.org.