MANNINGTON – Lora Michael recalls the first meeting she had with Mannington’s Police Chief Brian Stewart earlier this year.
She invited Stewart, as well as the new mayor of Mannington to meet with her and the Mannington Women’s Club to talk about what they wanted for their community. That meeting led Michael to find a need to focus the club’s efforts on.
“He said they were running on a tight budget and he expressed that concern...,” said Michael, president of the Mannington Women’s Club. “So we said ‘If you gave us a wish list we might be able to help you out some’.”
On Monday, the Mannington Women’s Club donated more than $2,000 to the Mannington Police Department, to help Stewart purchase bullet-proof vests, as well as other equipment the department needs.
According to Michael, the Women’s Club performs acts of service like this regularly, because its members are united to improve the quality of life in Mannington.
“We are a civic organization and any money we raise is always donated back to our hometown,” Michael said. “So we are donating $2,200 for bullet proof vests, and miscellaneous items they need like flashlights and holders.”
The purchase of new bullet-proof vests is important to the Mannington Police Department, because the vests need to be replaced every few years to remain effective. The department will purchase other equipment, Stewart said, called breaching situations, tools that help police forcefully break down a door to enter a structure, if such a situations arises.
“The vests are outdated and in dire need of being replaced, so it will be a huge safety factor for the officers,” Stewart said. “Money will be used to buy new flashlights for the officers to keep them safer, and also going to be used to buy some breaching tools for high-risk warrant services.”
For Stewart, getting this kind of donation from a community group is encouraging, because it shows that people appreciate police and police departments. With a staff of seven officers at the Mannington Police Department, Stewart said donations like this one can make a big difference.
“What that women’s group is doing is amazing,” Stewart said. “It’s overwhelming to know that there are people out there that are in such support of police departments – it’s amazing.”
For Michael, the donation just goes back towards that message of building a better community. Having made this donation through the Mannington Women’s Club, she said she hopes that it will help them not only keep residents safe, but keep officers safe as they carry out their police duties.
“It’s our police department, their safety is important, our safety is important,” Michael said. “The more things they have to protect them, the better protected the people of Mannington will be.”
Michael said the Women’s Club raises money through fundraisers and sales of its “famous fudge.” The next club fundraiser is Lunch with Santa, which is scheduled Noon-2 p.m. Saturday, Dec.7 at the Mannington Senior Center. Tickets are $3 for children ages 5-12, and $5 for 12 and up, with kids under 5 free.