Delaware Helping Warriors Outdoors donates cleaning supplies
As a volunteer with the Felton Fire Company for more than 25 years, Larry Thompson knows about the stress first responders, veterans and police encounter daily. He and his wife Kimberly Anne Thompson started an organization five years ago to host camping, hunting and fishing trips for those who serve the community.
Now, Delaware Helping Warriors Outdoors is lending a hand to first responders battling a new kind of stress. As the coronavirus pandemic spreads, firefighters, police officers and medics continue to do their jobs. To protect themselves and others, they must constantly clean their uniforms, vehicles and equipment. Some reached out to Larry Thompson when their cleaning supplies ran low.
“During their shifts, they don’t have time to go out like a normal family does,” he said. Delaware Helping Warriors Outdoors has started buying and delivering supplies, like hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and laundry detergent, free of charge.
The team organizing this includes board members Jason Boller, Jason Oakey, Kelly Coffey and Jeff Coffey. They have helped the Milton Fire Department, Saint Francis and EMS 63, Kent County Paramedics, Delaware State Police Troop 3, Milford and Dover police and more.
To raise money, they sell hats, shirts and sauces. The sauces, similar to an Old Bay hot sauce, come from local Rick Ewing who makes them in memory of his brother and father who both devoted their lives to public service.
The main goal is to keep first responders and officers safe and disinfected when they go home to their families, Thompson said. While Delaware Helping Warriors Outdoors isn’t hosting any outdoor trips right now, they hope to help by filling a need.
“We want to keep them safe while they’re on the streets, while they’re interacting with patients and the public that the police officers come into [contact] with every day,” Thompson said.