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Breathing a little more easily — Brookhaven police, fire departments receive N95 mask donations

Brookhaven’s police and fire departments were among 86 small first responder stations in Mississippi to receive donations of 3M N95 masks recently.

Five thousand masks were donated by Sherwin-Williams and were distributed through First Responders of Mississippi. Attorney General Lynn Fitch has been on FROM’s board of directors since its founding in 2018.

Brookhaven Police Chief Kenneth Collins was grateful for the donation.

“It’s totally a blessing when all of God’s children show their wings, and in times like this we’re all together. I want to thank Sherwin-Williams and all the other businesses for showing their wings and flying,” Collins said.

“I am thrilled to share this exciting news for our first responders, who are on the front lines right now, battling this pandemic,” said Fitch. “It is precisely these kinds of acts of corporate citizenship and personal kindness that will help our nation emerge from this crisis stronger than before … We will pull through this because we will do it together.”

“Sherwin-Williams praises the ongoing efforts of all first responders who are always there for us, especially during this pandemic. We’re honored to be able to donate this essential personal protective equipment at this critical time,” said Mary Garceau, senior vice president of Sherwin-Williams.

FROM also facilitated the purchase of more than 8,000 N95 masks for officers at the Mississippi Department of Public Safety and Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics.

An N95 mask differs from a surgical mask or homemade mask in a few ways, It has been evaluated, tested and approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. It reduces the wearer’s exposure to particles, filtering out at least 95 percent of airborne particles, large and small. It is tight-fitting and, when worn properly, allows minimal leakage around its edges when the user inhales.

“This is our mission. We were founded to help Mississippi’s first responders in their hour of greatest need,” said Jody Rigby, FROM president and a three-decade veteran of the Mississippi Highway Patrol.

“Now, with a silent enemy amongst us, our police, fire and rescue workers need us more than ever. We are pleased to help (AG) Fitch and Sherwin-Williams get these much-needed masks to the first responders who so desperately need them,” Rigby said.

Other departments who received masks included the police departments of Meadville, Monticello and Crystal Springs and Monticello Fire Department.