Farmville police issue challenge to help one of their own

Published 5:13 am Thursday, April 18, 2024

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Farmville Police Chief Andy Ellington issued a challenge when he came before council on Wednesday, April 10. Helene Blanton has been a longtime member of the department, working as a communications operator. She was recently diagnosed with stage four brain cancer, going through surgery a couple weeks ago and her work family want to make sure she has plenty to cover those medical bills. 

“I’ve done a lot of thinking over the last two weeks,” Ellington said. “This hit close to home so I wanted to do something as a team to help (her) along the way. It’s going to be financially challenging. So I went to Dr. Davis, got with the mayor and wanted to bring a challenge.” 

As of April 10, Ellington said, he’s had his last haircut for a while, at least until the town employees picnic on May 23. 

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“If we can successfully raise, between all town employees and anyone else who wants to donate, $5,000 by May 23, I have arranged to shave my head,” Ellington said. 

That challenge has been answered by Farmville Town Manager Dr. Scott Davis, who raised the numbers just a bit. 

“I said, you know what, if the police chief can do this, I can,” Davis said. “If we raise $10,000, I will shave my head at the picnic.” 

Blanton has been with the Farmville Emergency Communications Center for more than 16 years now. And before that, she worked as an officer in the police department. While other people might measure their time with Farmville in years, she can do it by decades. 

Details of Farmville police challenge

So now that you’ve all read the challenge, let’s get into the details of it. Yes, anyone in or outside the Town of Farmville can donate to this cause, with 100% of the money going to Helene Blanton and her family. And yes, the chief is serious, he will shave his head if donations reach that $5,000 level. Specifically, he’s put everyone on a clock. If $5,000 gets collected by noon on May 23, the razors come out and he’s getting his head shaved. 

“(Helene) is  is not just a colleague but a valued member of our close knit team,” Ellington said. “During this time, it’s crucial we come together to support her in every way possible. Thoughts and prayers are with her and her family.”  

How can I donate? 

As for where to send the money, Farmville Director of Finance Julie Moore has agreed to collect donations. You can just drop those off at her office, located in town hall. Anyone who writes a check needs to make it out to Helene Blanton or cash will be accepted if you want to go that route. Ellington also suggested that if folks can’t donate money, a note or a card saying thank you or that she’s being prayed for would also be good during this time. 

Mayor Brian Vincent said he believes the goals will be met. 

“I have no doubt the town will rally, as it often does, to look out for its own,” Vincent said.