The wife of a former Clinton Police officer, Tammy Grady knows well the impact partnerships between department and citizens can have in effecting change and showing the positive side of law enforcement.
Those partnerships can bring people together to help communities, even if those communities are hundreds of miles away. With that thought in mind, Grady approached Clinton Police Chief Donald Edwards after Hurricane Harvey ravaged Texas a month ago. A supplies drive was coordinated.
That disaster relief drive will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 30, at the Clinton City Market on Lisbon Street. Grady and others have been collecting supplies, mostly personal hygiene items, for weeks now and are hoping others will pitch in.
When Irma hit Florida and then Maria devastated Puerto Rico, it made Grady’s idea that much timelier. The drive will benefit victims of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and now Maria.
“I know the police department helps a lot of people,” said Grady, a deputy clerk at the Sampson County Clerk of Superior Court’s Office and wife of retired Clinton Police officer Darryl Grady. “I’ve always enjoyed helping people and thought this would be a good way to also show the police department, which is sometimes seen in a negative light, in a positive way.”
When Grady contacted Edwards, he jumped at the idea. Many in the community, including those within the Clinton Police Department, have done similar outreach for Florida and Texas in recent weeks through their churches and civic organizations.
“A lot of our staff are members of churches and community groups who have done some outreach, but we hadn’t done anything as a department,” the police chief said. “So, I told her of course we’d partner.”
That was at the beginning of September.
“Obviously, when we were planning this, we weren’t planning for Puerto Rico, but they will be a part of this too,” said Edwards. “We’ll be reaching out to the Red Cross after the drive and they will distribute the items.”
Grady said she already has six boxes full and knows there are others who will be bringing their collections to the market on Saturday to be consolidated into one pile of donations. Among them are little Jaycie Bullard, who attends Beaver Dam Elementary and serves as the people’s choice selection in the Little Miss/Teen Miss NC pageant.
“She challenged the little girls in her pageant group to bring a certain amount of items, and they did,” said Grady, who noted that Sampson Community College’s Student Government Association has also coordinated a drive toward combining efforts with Grady and the department.
Items that are being collected include various dental products from toothpaste to mouthwash; lip balm; hand sanitizer; tissue and toilet paper; body and hand lotion; deodorant; razors and shaving cream; baby wipes; soap and body wash; shampoo and conditioner; paper towels; Q-tips; and feminine products.
“The partners have been collecting supplies this whole time,” Edwards said.
“We’ll bring them all together Saturday and hopefully collect much more,” Grady added. “It’s been very effective so far.”
Those unable to drop off items during the four-hour window on Saturday can do so before the Saturday event or any time Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the police department on Lisbon Street. Monetary donations are also accepted and checks can be made payable to The American Red Cross, event organizers said.
“If somebody has something and they are willing to give,” Edwards noted, “I would never turn down a donation for someone in need.”
For more information, contact Chief Donald Edwards at 910-592-3105 or Tammy Grady at 910-337-3071.
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.