By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
The convenience store chain perhaps best known for its freshly made hoagies and gourmet coffee is giving back to the community.
Wawa has donated $8,246 to purchase body armor vests and other protective gear for all 23 full-time Sea Isle City police officers.
“They’re a tremendous corporate partner. They never say no,” Police Chief Tom McQuillen said of Wawa, which has a store in Sea Isle.
In a ceremony at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Mayor Leonard Desiderio presented a plaque to Wawa representatives Loretta Murphy and Lori Allar to thank the corporation for “keeping first responders safe.”
“Wawa is a great community partner that is willing to help out everyday heroes,” Desiderio said in a statement. “We are very grateful for Wawa’s ongoing generosity.”
All of the officers on the Sea Isle police department are required to wear body armor, which McQuillen described as “another tool” in efforts to keep the cops safe in the bustling summer resort town.
Unlike the older style bulletproof vests that fit underneath the officers’ uniforms, the new body armor is less bulky and far more comfortable to wear, McQuillen explained.
He showed how easy it is to put on and remove the zippered vests during a demonstration at the Council meeting. They are worn over top the uniforms.
The new vests also come with a series of pockets for storing the officers’ ammunition, radio, baton, handcuffs and other gear. In the past, the gear was attached to a belt around the waist and was uncomfortable to wear, McQuillen said.