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Foundation to aid authorities

A recently established foundation received a pledge of $100,000 from three entrepreneurs in the Heart of Virginia to assist law enforcement officers in their times of need.

William G. “Billy” Kidd

According to a press release, the Heart of Virginia Law Enforcement Foundation is in the process of being established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity that will assist law enforcement officers in Farmville, Buckingham, Cumberland and Prince Edward as well as Longwood University and Hampden-Sydney College when they’re in need. This assistance could come in the form of funds for additional training opportunities, gear to protect officers and the public or it could come in varying ways when a police officer suffers a personal loss.

According to Jordan Miles, the foundation’s spokesperson, the idea for the foundation originated with Ron Dowdy.

“Lots of these law enforcement agencies, while they do get ample support from the various towns and localities … sometimes there are needs that there are not specific funds for. Like one of the worst case scenarios is if the sheriff’s deputy’s house burns down, this foundation would have funds meant for something like that to, in a personal way, help a sheriff’s deputy,” Miles said.

He also cited Dowdy as seeing a need to provide funds to pay for training expenses for sheriff’s deputies and police.

According to the release, the announcement of the $100,000 pledge for the unprecedented organization came during a catered event in Farmville to a room

Sheriff Darrell Hodges

packed full of law enforcement officers from across the Heart of Virginia on Dec. 9.

“Cumberland County Sheriff Darrell Hodges and Farmville Police Chief A.Q. ‘Andy’ Ellington were approached by businessman Ron Dowdy about the idea of the foundation,” officials said in the release. “Dowdy then contacted Tim Tharpe, of J.R. Tharpe Trucking Inc., and Fred DeMaio, owner of Triboro Shelving. Both businesses employ hundreds of people across the region.”

“We want this foundation to be one that the community looks to as a source of pride and one that will support those who protect us and put their lives on the line on a daily basis,” said Dowdy. “The pledges are just the beginning of what’s to come. I know, with the support of this community, we can meet our goal of $250,000.”

“This was totally his idea,” Ellington said of Dowdy, who is well-known for his support of local organizations and nonprofits. “We immediately reached out to (Prince Edward County) Sheriff Wesley Reed, (Buckingham County) Sheriff Billy Kidd, Longwood University Chief Robert Beach and Hampden-Sydney College Chief Mark Fowler to acquire their input.”

“We want this foundation to be there for our brother and sister officers and deputies,” said Hodges. “This foundation will be governed and administered by police and the money will benefit police. It’s simply police helping police with the support of the community.”

Wesley Reed

The release cited that Ellington spoke during the event held at the Firemen’s Sports Arena in Farmville. He said 100 percent of funds raised would remain in the community.

“We so very much appreciate Ron, Tim and Fred, along with their businesses and families for what they’re doing for us,” Ellington said. “Their support says volumes about what we as police officers do for the community and for the support the community returns to us.”

“I’m proud to be an inaugural donor to this extremely worthy cause,” said Tharpe, of J.R. Tharpe Trucking, a second-generation family business. “This community has supported our business in countless ways, and now we’ve got an excellent opportunity for our neighbors, friends and family to return the thanks to those who protect and serve, not only our town or county, but the entire Heart of Virginia.”

“The establishment of this foundation is unprecedented for this community,” said Sheriff Reed. “I sincerely thank these men for their willingness to help us and for their trust in us.”

“While law enforcement is being targeted in many communities across the nation, we’re sincerely supported across this area as we strive to gain additional trust and mutual respect,” said Sheriff William “Billy” Kidd. “This foundation is a prime example of that.”

Individuals, businesses and nonprofit organizations can offer pledges toward the foundation by emailing HOVFoundation@gmail.com.