At the height of the pandemic, PAL donates valuable PPE to South Salt Lake police, fireJun 08, 2020 11:46AM ● By Brian Shaw
By Brian Shaw | [email protected]
About one year after the South Salt Lake Police Athletic League took a break to restructure the organization under new leadership and a board of directors, it has regrouped under new director Jonathan Hertel.
First on his agenda was supposed to have been PAL's annual golf tournament in August, its largest fundraiser. Once the coronavirus pandemic struck in March however, the golf tournament was unfortunately canceled.
Hertel's focus shifted from rebuilding PAL after former director Jerry Silva retired, to serving the needs of this community hard-hit by this public health crisis.
"A lot of good people have donated to us. What we did this year because our programming was halted (due to the pandemic) and our funds haven't been needed as often, was give a little bit back to the community," Hertel said.
Foremost among those in need during the height of the pandemic, according to Hertel, were the South Salt Lake police and fire departments.
"Both had posted a need for masks and sanitation wipes," Hertel said. "So what I did through some connections that I have, is I reached out to a friend of mine who lives in China who was able to get 2,000 masks and 500 alcohol wipes."
Hertel's friend had the KN95 masks and wipes shipped here via express delivery within days, thanks to generous private business donors and funding from PAL sponsors.
From that shipment, PAL donated 1,000 masks each to the police and fire departments. That should give both departments enough personal protective equipment through the end of the summer, Hertel added.
These were sorely needed, according to Hertel, who said he learned there was a spike in positive COVID-19 cases at the new Gail Miller Homeless Resource Center.
To which South Salt Lake police and fire found themselves responding to 911 emergency calls at that facility and others in the vicinity—without the necessary PPE to protect themselves and others.
"You know, when you look at that, they have dedicated officers that go there and if they don't have the proper PPE, you're exposing these officers to it and so we felt that was probably the best step that we could take," Hertel said.
In addition to helping out police and fire in this pandemic, Hertel and PAL are also reaching out to area families in need by putting together meal kits for them. This is being done in collaboration with the Salt Lake Education Culinary Center, or SLICE.
Hertel added that along with donations from business supporters, he will be contributing a $500 grant from his State Farm Insurance agency which will help go toward funding for these necessary meal kits.