Major fundraising pays off

Friends of Edgar County Law Enforcement raise $60,000 for protective police gear

By Nancy Zeman nzeman@prairiepress.net
Posted 10/12/20

By Nancy Zeman

nzeman@prairiepress.net

What began as offering support for local law enforcement in Edgar County has blossomed into a major effort guaranteeing personnel the latest in protective …

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Major fundraising pays off

Friends of Edgar County Law Enforcement raise $60,000 for protective police gear

Posted

By Nancy Zeman

nzeman@prairiepress.net

What began as offering support for local law enforcement in Edgar County has blossomed into a major effort guaranteeing personnel the latest in protective gear.

The Friends of Edgar County Law Enforcement began as a casual conversation among a group of friends that included Edgar County Sheriff Jeff Wood and Paris Police Chief Eric Brown. The non-law enforcement friends were shocked their friends and neighbors who patrol our communities do not have gear to protect them.

Thanks to the overwhelming response from Edgar County financial institutions, civic groups, businesses and residents, the protective gear — and a few other needed items — will soon to be on the way, according to Granville Colvin, one of the leaders of the effort.

“The people who are protecting us, we are not protecting them the way they should be,” said Colvin.

Colvin said the many volunteers who became part of the Friends of the Edgar County Law Enforcement set a modest goal of $40,000 to purchase the much-needed equipment. But the support was overwhelming from the beginning and the fundraising effort has now zoomed past $60,000, enabling the group to purchase other equipment.

This past week, the Paris VFW Post 3601 presented a check for $5,000, Colvin noted.

“They were the first group to jump on with their check presentation,” said Colvin.

The group members emphasized no one is pointing fingers at government agencies who oversee any law enforcement. Budgets are tight at all levels of county, city and village government and the pandemic has further eroded the tax base.

“We recognize local government funds are limited for the purchase of such equipment and so we decided to help,” Colvin said.

From the time the first contacts were made, Colvin said everyone was on board with the support.

Longview Bank and Trust is a major supporter. Colvin made presentation to the Paris branch manager and vice-president, Aaron Dahlmer, who shared the request for support at a bank board meeting scheduled the next week. The result of the request was a $10,000 gift — a major boost to the project.

Other financial institutions got involved, including Prospect Bank presenting the group with a $5,000 check.

“We got checks from private citizens who just wanted to help,” Colvin said.

The major fundraiser was a family friendly UTV ride held in southern Edgar County July 18. The event included not only the ride by 116 vehicles but also pork barbecue and all the fixings served by the Paris High School football and basketball team members. Dessert was (what else?) Georgia Colvin’s famous brownies. Held on one of the hottest days of the year, the weather didn’t deter the attendance.

Colvin said the ride — which netted just under $17,000 — would not have been possible without the support of three landowners who allowed the UTV’s to cross their lands during the ride. All three landowners — who requested to stay anonymous — said the ride went well with no trash or damage visible.

In addition to the ride and barbecue, several gun raffles as well as signs in support of police, handmade flags and other items helped raise the bottom line.

Once purchased, the new equipment will ride in the seat next to each on-duty officer, Wood explained. The officers are already wearing the lightweight Kevlar vest with smaller protective plates.  No additional training is needed for the new equipment, Brown said, noting the new vests will quickly slip on each officer over their regular vest.

Anyone wanting to donate to the project can do so through the Edgar County Community Foundation. All donations are tax deductible as ECCF is a 501(c)3. Colvin thanked ECCF members Doug Hasler, Christian Colvin and Warren Sperry for setting up the project.

Anyone who has questions about the project — or wants to donate — may contact Colvin at 217-822-3425.

cross their lands during the ride. All three landowners — who requested to stay anonymous — said the ride went well with no trash or damage visible.

In addition to the ride and barbecue, several gun raffles as well as signs in support of police, handmade flags and other items helped raise the bottom line.

Once purchased, the new equipment will ride in the seat next to each on-duty officer, Wood explained. The officers are already wearing the lightweight Kevlar vest with smaller protective plates.  No additional training is needed for the new equipment, Brown said, noting the new vests will quickly slip on each officer over their regular vest.

Anyone wanting to donate to the project can do so through the Edgar County Community Foundation. All donations are tax deductible as ECCF is a 501(c)3. Colvin thanked ECCF members Doug Hasler, Christian Colvin and Warren Sperry for setting up the project.

Anyone who has questions about the project — or wants to donate — may contact Colvin at 217-822-3425.