COLORADO SPRINGS — Protecting our protectors is the goal of a local organization who donates protective gear to first responders. They’re also stepping up to show support for the community after Deputy Andrew Peery’s death on Sunday evening.
Jake Skifstad, the founder and president of Shield616, said the organization is rallying support for Deputy Peery’s family and the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, and praying for both.
“We’re going to let them know that we stand with them and that we are hurting with them,” said Skifstad, who was an officer in Colorado Springs Police Department for 14 years.
Their other main goal of the organization is to raise money and donate life-saving protective gear including helmets and vests, to first responders locally and nation-wide.
“This is the reality that our first responders go into every single day, they put that uniform on, they know they might be putting their lives on the line, and they know that they only have so much protection,” said Skifstad.
On Sunday evening, Skifstad had just finished a Border to Border bike ride in Idaho, when he got the call about Deputy Peery.
“Unfortunately two days ago was was another strong reminder of the sense of urgency we carry at Shield616, of getting out there and supporting these guys and trying to protect them the best we can, and in rallying the community around them,” said Skifstad. “It is a very hard phone call to get and you know at that moment, all you can do is pray and that's definitely what we did there on that Idaho-Montana border.”
The bike ride for the blue helps raise money to buy rifle-rated armor and each set costs $2,400. To date, the organization had helped protect more than 5,000 first responders and donated to more than 300 agencies.
Their hope is that they can protect as many first responders as possible, while they protect others.
“There's no doubt in my mind that Deputy Peery absolutely protected his community that day, and he went to the far extreme and gave the ultimate sacrifice, which was his life for us, for our protection,” said Skifstad.
This year’s Border to Border ride in Colorado is happening next month, September 7-11th. 35 riders will ride more than 460 miles, and some of the riders are from local law enforcement agencies.
For more information about Shield616, click here.
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