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Help Fund Rifle Proof Vests


Monday, September 27, 2016 – Tyler, TX:  A 23-member campaign committee was appointed by Sen. Kevin Eltife to help in the fundraising effort. Three of those committee members spoke at a news conference at the Tyler Police Department today – GAWTP Executive Director JoAnn Fleming, attorney Mike Hogan and businessman Brandon Steele.

JoAnn Fleming, “Our teachers and law enforcement officers catch the brunt of the cultural decline in our society today.”

She encouraged community members to do three things – for people of faith to pray for the officers’ protection, security and wisdom; to make the best donation they could afford to this important campaign; and to take time to stop and thank officers for their service to the community.

“They really deserve this and much more,” she said.  Read the full Tyler Morning Telegraph article by clicking here.

The Need – the Goal

The goal of the “We Back Our Law Enforcement” Campaign is to raise additional funds from the public in order to provide upgraded vests for each law enforcement officer in the City of Tyler and Smith County.

At the press conference Monday, Sen. Kevin Eltife announced the total cost for the vests is $204,400. The City will pay $67,900 and the County will pay $34,300 and, along with Eltife’s $20,000 contribution, the remaining $82,000 is the goal of the campaign.

How to contribute

Individuals and businesses may contribute to the “We Back Our Law Enforcement Fund” set up at the East Texas Communities Foundation. Go online to or to the link to contribute using a credit card.

In addition, gifts by check should be made payable to “East Texas Communities Foundation” with “We Back Our Law Enforcement” included in the memo line.  Checks may be mailed to ETCF, 315 N. Broadway, Suite 210, Tyler, Texas 75702 or delivered in person to the same address, 8 am – 5 pm Monday – Friday.

Sen. Eltife’s Committee Appointees who will help in the fundraising effort include:

  • Senator Kevin Eltife, Chairman
  • Mayor Martin Heines, Co – Chairman
  • Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith
  • Tyler Police Chief Jimmy Toler
  • Robert Bailes
  • Barbara Bass
  • Nelson Clyde
  • Susan Davis
  • JoAnn Fleming, who spoke at the Monday press conference
  • Rick Freeman
  • Bobby Garmon
  • Rev. Reginald Garrett
  • Randy Grooms
  • Mike Hogan, who spoke at the Monday press conference
  • Gaylord Hughey
  • Dianna Jackson
  • Robert Peltier
  • Gus Ramirez
  • Debbie Roosth
  • Joey Seeber
  • Gene Shull
  • Brandon Steele, who spoke at the Monday press conference
  • Patrick Willis

JoAnn says, “I will never ask you to do anything I won’t do myself. My family made a $1,000 contribution today. Any amount you can afford will help reach the goal to provide extra protection for the men and women of local law enforcement. They deserve our prayers and support. Thank you!”