14 body armor vests for Richmond County deputies in honor of J.D. Paugh

Deputy J.D. Paugh suggested a body armor fundraiser before he was killed.

Fourteen body armor vests for deputies will be ordered this year in memory of slain Richmond County Deputy J.D. Paugh.

Three weeks before Paugh, a 47-year-old motorcycle deputy with the sheriff’s office, was fatally shot Oct. 23 by Chris­­topher Hodges, a Tennessee National Guardsman stationed at Fort Gordon, he sat in Carolina Ale House on Robert C. Daniel Jr. Parkway and expressed a desire to have a fundraiser for body armor for deputies.

When news of Paugh’s death hit the restaurant, general manager Mark Coleman said he knew what Paugh would have wanted.

Late last year, the restaurant gave the sheriff’s office a check for $7,688 for new vests.

“I think that it was more than what we imagined,” Coleman said.

The sheriff’s office orders 50 to 100 vests every year as new officers are hired and as older vests meet their five-year warranties, said sheriff’s Capt. Jack Francisco.

The price of vests varies from $600 to $1,000.

“We’re purchasing 14 vests out of that money,” said Mary Ann Gibbs, finance director at the sheriff’s office.

Coleman said Paugh had become a part of the restaurant before it opened. He rode up on his motorcycle when construction began to express his excitement and continued to drop by almost daily to check on progress.

“He cared a lot about the success of this restaurant and the people that worked here. I could have put him on the payroll,” Coleman said.

The restaurant plans to continue honoring Paugh’s wishes with another fundraiser. Its kickoff Bike Night is scheduled for March 15, with funds again going toward the purchase of new body armor.

Full Coverage: Deputy J.D. Paugh

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