Media Relations, Shield The Badges Inc
1431 E. Gary Road. Lakeland, Florida 33801
Photo Opportunity and Media Announcement
Who: Lakeland Police Chief, Larry Giddens will be a guest at Lakeland gun store, Derringer Firearms, to announce support for the new 501©3 corporation, Shield The Badges. This new corporation was formed by store manager Ashton Bardwell, who is also the wife of a Lakeland Police officer and daughter of a Polk Sheriff’s Office deputy.
WHAT: Shield The Badges (Non-profit 501©3) launches fundraising program to buy an additional layer of protective body armor for Lakeland Police Officers. These special carrier vests are designed to help protect law enforcement in active shooter situations with high caliber rifle fire.
WHEN: Friday, September 30th at 1:30 P.M.
WHERE: Derringer Firearms Inc. at 1433 E. Gary Rd. Lakeland, Florida 33801
WHY: Recent attacks against law enforcement, around the country, resulting in deaths and severe injuries moved Mrs. Bardwell to gather information about equipment that might keep her husband and father safer while on the job.
After recent tragedies targeting police officers in cities like Dallas and Baton Rouge, Ashton Bardwell became more concerned with the safety of her husband, a Lakeland Police Officer and her father, a Polk County Deputy. While talking on social media with friends and family, Bardwell found that many other citizens would be supportive of fundraising efforts to help keep local law enforcement safe. Because her employer had already instituted a program of giving out yard signs and bumper stickers that read "Support Law Enforcement", Bardwell was confident Derringer Firearms owners would also support the cause. Gun store owner, Dan Derringer, was quick to get on board and assisted Bardwell in forming a legal non-profit corporation through the IRS and Derringer's business CPA.
Bardwell began researching the available options on the market. She reviewed price, quality, weight, durability, ballistic data and the preference of Chief Larry Giddens and administrative staff. After weeks of meetings, dozens of calls, and hours online, Bardwell completed the task of putting all the pieces together and she was able to determine an initial fundraising goal of $63,000. The selected vest will be available on display this Friday.
Gun store owner, Derringer said, "Ashton, her husband, and father are all part of our family. Lakeland police officers are also part of our Lakeland family. This group of a brave men and women deserve this additional layer of safety equipment to help bring them home to their families daily. Ashton’s hard work and passion for this project is something special. Of course, we are behind her and share her concerns to keep her husband and father safe." Bardwell said that she hopes to assist other Polk law enforcement agencies after the Lakeland Police Department.