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DENVER (KDVR) — Freeway Ford presented a check for $34,500 to Shield616. The money was raised during the dealership’s month-long campaign to help pay for protective gear for Denver police officers. 

“We stand behind them 100%. Our hearts are with them. It’s easy to write the check. It’s not easy to do their job,” the owner of Freeway Ford said.

Freeway Ford raised enough money to donate 16 kits of body armor to Denver police officers.

Jake Skifstad, the founder of Shield616, said, “I think now more than ever, our first responders need to hear from the community that they are grateful they are all out there keeping us safe.”

Skifstad continued, “It can save somebody’s life. It’s so exciting and I hope it’s encouraging to the Denver Police Department to know a business is getting behind them. To know 16 more of our first responders — our heroes — are going to be protected with the best gear out there, underneath this mask, I’m smiling, I can’t thank Freeway Ford enough for rallying around us.” 

Sales and leasing consultant Anthony Testa came up with the idea for the fundraiser.

“These men and women see us at our worst every single day and are at their best. I didn’t like seeing what was going on around the country and city here, them being targeted and picked on. I don’t like bullies. I back the blue and defend those who defend us,” he said.

The potentially life-saving donation is especially meaningful right now.

“It really shows us the level of support that we do have here. National polls and what we hear from our community, overwhelmingly is people do support the police department and want to help us succeed, just as we want to help the community succeed,” Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said, adding, “This equipment that has been generously donated really helps our officers in some very dangerous situations. Unfortunately, as we are seeing more illegal weapons on the streets, it’s the officers that go out and put themselves between community and folks that do harm. Having this additional protection is a way for our officers to be more effective in keeping our community safe.”

The folks at Freeway Ford hope to encourage others to join this movement of Supporting the Shield.

Just as the first check presentation was wrapping up, Denver police Officer Eddie Pacheco walked in with another check from his uncle, who owns “Tortillas Mexico.”

Pacheco said, “He chose to donate five vests kits. He saw it on FOX31 and says,’If I can make a difference, I am going to.'”

He said it offers peace of mind to officers and their families.

“It makes me feel really good. The rifle-rated kits — that much more prepared, that much more safe. It gives us a better opportunity to make it home at night,” Pacheco said.

Shield616 is hoping to have the vests from this fundraiser to the officers by November.

If you are interested in making a donation, visit Shield616’s website.