KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Dozens of local law enforcement officers received new protective gear, thanks to donations from thousands of FOX4 viewers.
Our "Working For Blue" telethon kicked off in October when viewers donated to help protect the men and women who protect our community.
Donations came from across the country and ranged from $5 up to $30,000. One notable donation came from the mother of Larry Leggio, the Kansas City firefighter who was killed responding to a fire in 2015.
Through the initiative, FOX4 viewers helped provide nearly 180 protective vests and helmets to 32 different agencies across Kansas and Missouri.
On Wednesday, the nonprofit SHIELD616 invited the agencies getting new gear and every donor who contributed to the campaign to participate in a vest presentation ceremony. See the presentation in the video players above and below.
Platte City Police Officer Adam Raybuck is just one of several grateful officers glad to receive the new vests.
"I am definitely glad to have the new one. Most police departments issue a soft vest. They commonly stop smaller caliber pistol rounds, essentially slower moving projectiles. The new, hard-armored vests will stop rifle rounds. It will go over the top of our uniforms, and I'll keep it in my trunk until I need to use it, " Raybuck said.
Each protective vest costs around $1,200, and they need to be replaced every five years to guarantee effectiveness. As a result, not every department has access to this life-saving gear.
"Sometimes you don't get maybe the funding that we need to get vests, so sometimes are vests are old. So it's nice to see the community reaching out and donating whatever it can to give us new vests so we can be better protected," said Dep. Ryan McFatrick with the Lafayette County Sheriff's Office.
Blue Springs Police Officer Sara Murphy is also excited to get the new, protective gear.
"If we're going to a shots fired call or a shooting in progress, it's nice to be able to have that additional safety to throw over our current vests that we're wearing," Murphy said.
"I just can't imagine having to got out everyday not knowing what you're going to encounter," said Bill Grubb of Overland Park.
Grubb donated $30,000 to the Working For Blue Telethon. He got a chance to meet and take pictures with several officers during the vest presentation ceremony.
"It gave me an opportunity to maybe make a small contribution and keep a few of the police officers safe," Grubb said.
There are still many local law enforcement agencies that need your help. It's not too late. You can donate online here.