HENDERSON, Texas (KETK) — The Rusk County Sheriff’s Office was given potentially life-saving gifts Monday in Henderson.
They teamed up with the Sheriff’s Office to hand out 32 bulletproof vests for deputies. Rusk County Sheriff Johnwayne Valdez says this was their biggest need.
Valdez says he was expecting about seven vests, but what he got was a pleasant surprise.
“To get 32 and start fresh brand new with the most updated ballistic protection, for me, I can sleep a little better at night,” Valdez said.
Up until this point, there were only about 10 vests in the department that were up to date. Each piece of the body armor costs up to $1,500.
The Dickey Foundation paid for the full amount.
“So I’ve had several people, several deputies tell me, ‘I haven’t had a new vest in 10 years,'” Maurine Dickey of the Dickey Foundation said.
These vests are lighter, more breathable and will help in the long term for deputies health. The old vests were too heavy and led to several deputies having back and hip problems. Now, that’s something the department doesn’t have to worry about.
“You’re carrying this weight with you. For instance, what I’m wearing right now, and the vest that I’m currently wearing, I’m weighing about 22 pounds more than I usually do in street clothes,” Valdez said.
The Dickey Foundation, previously known as Barbecue, Boots and Badges, works to support first responders across the United States.
“It means everything to think that we could have saved some lives,” Dickey said.
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