It’s been less than a year since Newton County Sheriff’s Deputies James Trent and Wesley Atha were shot and injured in the line of duty, but thanks to the generosity of the community, the InVest fund has raised roughly $90,000 to purchase new state-of-the-art bulletproof vests for all 156 mandated officers.
Of the 156 that are needed, an order for 99 was recently made and vests cost between $500 and $700, depending on the size of the vest.
Dawn Atha, the mother of injured deputy Atha, spearheaded the fund and said that she was amazed at the generosity of people — many of whom donated $5, $10 and $15.
"It makes you so thankful to live in a town like this," she said. "It touches your heart to see how caring everyone is."
"It’s amazing," added Marshall Atha, her husband and Wesley’s father, holding a typed list of more than 423 names of people who donated to the fund. "This is $90,000. When people have no money and times are tough, they still donated.
"Today is my birthday [March 26]," he added, "and I can say that this is the ultimate birthday present, maybe the best one I’ve ever got."
The InVest fund will remain open and continue to accept donations. Once every deputy is equipped with a new vest, the funds will be used for safety equipment to ensure that all Newton County’s deputies are as safe as possible when doing their job.