The Shield Club of Augusta donated more than $20,000 Tuesday to the sheriff’s offices in Richmond and Columbia counties in memory of a deputy killed last year in the line of duty.
The money was given in honor of Richmond County sheriff’s Deputy J.D. Paugh, who was fatally wounded in October.
“Within a day or two, they were down here wanting to know what they could do to help,” said Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength of the organization.
The club, formed in 1986, provides financial assistance to police officers, deputies and firefighters injured or killed on the job.
In the past, the club has worked with local departments to provide wheelchairs, finance college educations for children and give other forms of aid.
In this case, the club decided to give $10,000 each to the sheriff’s offices for protective gear.
“We decided that we’d rather be proactive than reactive,” said David Alalof, the president of the Shield Club.
The money can be used however the sheriffs see fit to protect their deputies, he said.
“We’re thrilled,” Strength said. “We’ve worked with the Shield Club many times.”
The club also contributed an additional $1,500 for signage on the portion of Bobby Jones Expressway that will be renamed in Paugh’s honor.
Paugh was shot and killed Oct. 23 by a Tennessee National Guardsman stationed at Fort Gordon, who then took his own life.
Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Sharif Chochol, who accepted on Sheriff Clay Whittle's behalf, said the money would be used to buy protective vests for deputies.
"It's very generous," Chochol said. "We'll definitely try to make it go a long way."