Chick-fil-A to donate to Vest Fund

COVINGTON -- Residents can help out the Newton County Sheriff's Office Vest Fund and enjoy great food at the same time. The Chick-fil-A restaurant on U.S. Highway 278 will give 10 percent of sales Saturday to the Vest Fund.

Owner Amy Giella said she and her husband, Chris, wanted to do what they could to help raise the $113,000 needed to buy Level III bulletproof vests for every Newton County deputy.

"We had been reading the paper and saw they were raising money for the protective vests. We have so many sheriffs coming in our store and they are always so kind. We felt like this is one small part we could do for them as they are protecting us," Amy Giella said. "They are such a big part of the community and we really felt led to help out a little bit even if it's only enough to raise enough money for two vests. It was on both of our hearts to be a part of helping them so their lives will no longer be in danger."

The fund was established by Dawn and Marshall Atha after their son, Deputy Wesley Atha, was saved by his bulletproof vest. Atha and Deputy James Trent were wounded in August when they were shot by a man armed with a .22-caliber rifle. The vests they were wearing at the time were Level II vests and the Atha family determined to raise funds to enable all NCSO deputies to have the higher-grade vests.

NCSO Cpl. Anthony Washington said members of the NCSO are looking forward to Saturday and meeting the public at Chick-fil-A.

Deputies will be at the restaurant beginning at 9:30 a.m. and throughout the day.

"We'll have a display board with photos of the deputies who were wounded, our K-9 Unit and Motorcycle Unit will be there as well as our Crime Suppression Unit," Washington said. "We'll be interacting with the public and answering questions and showing our appreciation to them for their support and concern."

More than 250 individuals and groups have contributed to the fund established for the purchase of Level III bulletproof vests for Newton County Sheriff's Office deputies. The fund stands at more than $70,000, not including approximately $55,000 in funds recently received from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Donations can be made directly to this cause by check payable to the Newton County Sheriff's Office and earmarked for Safety Vests & Equipment. Donations can be mailed to the NCSO in care of Apryle Jones, 15151 Alcovy Road, Covington, GA 30014.