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Police get Pioneer-ing donation

Members of the Suffolk Police Department said they need more to be able to protect themselves while serving the community during the coronavirus pandemic.

A donation from the Pioneer Elementary School community aims to help and was much appreciated by those in the department who came to the school Wednesday to accept it.

The school and surrounding community donated hand sanitizer, Lysol, Lysol disinfecting wipes, masks, gloves, Vitamin C and snacks to the department.

“We’re glad they gave it to us,” said Master Police Officer Ben Delugo. “It’s much needed tools for us out in the field, because we’re running low.”

Delugo said the department has received very little in protective supplies to help while officers are out in the city and aren’t able to practice social distancing during the course of their duties.

“This is going to help out tremendously,” Delugo said.

The donation comes two days after Suffolk Fire and Rescue personnel received donations from the Kilby Shores Elementary staff and school community, as across the state and country there are shortages of personal protective equipment and supplies not only for hospitals and medical professionals, but also for first responders.

It also comes as Gov. Ralph Northam addressed a question at his press conference Wednesday about first responders in localities throughout the state who do not have enough PPE and whether the state can help. He cited a $27 million shipment of PPE set to arrive to the state in the next few days.

“I would ask any locality, whether it be the firefighters, whether it be first responders, law enforcement, whatever, if you are getting toward the end of your PPE or don’t have PPE, please let us know,” Northam said, “and we will do everything that we can as we disburse this equipment across Virginia to take care of, as best as we can, all of your needs.”

Suffolk first responders are accepting donations to be shared among Suffolk Fire and Rescue and Suffolk Police. They can be dropped off by appointment only at Suffolk Fire and Rescue Station 6, 300 Kings Fork Road. They are looking for such things as N95 masks, nitrile exam gloves, eye protection, surgical masks with or without fluid shield protection, face shields, protective surgical gowns and hand sanitizer.

Pioneer Principal Lori Mounie said staff and community members were generous in helping out the department. They hope more will be able to donate to all first responders and to medical personnel.

“You hear more about going to hospitals and fire departments and things like that,” Mounie said. “I’m thrilled that we’re able to help you all out. … They’re the unsung heroes. They are in it every day in making the connections with people, and they can’t do that social distancing, and people may not realize the need for that.”

Mounie sent an email to staff at the beginning of the week asking if they had anything they could donate, and they also received supplies from parents, students and the Pioneer community.
“I had a very quick response,” Mounie said. “When I sent that email out, immediately teachers said, ‘Oh yes, take what you need. Take everything I have.’”

Want to donate?

Donations for Suffolk Fire and Rescue and the Suffolk Police Department can be dropped off, by appointment only, at Suffolk Fire and Rescue Station 6, 300 Kings Fork Road. Contact Capt. Leon Ratliff at 514-4544.