The mission of SHIELD616 is to protect and support first responders with all-day rifle rated ballistics gear. In that process, they also give a measure of comfort to the loved ones of first responders because when something happens on the job, there is always someone who has to be called and told something terrible has happened.
It’s something Christine Brite experienced in September of 2016. Christine says, “Dan and I have been married for 17 years and we have two daughters. He was a SWAT officer and I was over the moon proud of him knowing that he could go in and help others.”
Christine also had insider knowledge of exactly how dangerous Dan’s job could be. “I'm a sergeant here at the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. We met when we started our careers together in law enforcement.”
Christine says her first-hand knowledge of the job did give her a measure of comfort. “I firmly believed my husband believe my husband was well-trained he was a swat officer for many years. He was a breacher. He was an operator. He went to training after training. I saw him, you know, coming in and just dirty and sweaty from all this training that he's had that didn't I know that his training was going to kick in no matter what because he trained so hard, so I didn't worry as much.”
Christine had gotten calls in the past that Dan had been hurt and taken to the hospital to get stitches from a training accident or other things along those lines. But on a sunny, beautiful September day in 2016, her world was turned upside down.
Christine says, “This one it just blew it out of the water. It was something so unexpected. You always think that it's going to happen late at night. I'm going to be sleeping. I'm going to get a knock at the door and all the lights turn on - that is far from what happened during this incident.”
Dan had been shot in the chest, by an active shooter with an AK-47 and was initially given very slim chances of living.
His story has been shared many times and continues to be in his new role as Wellness Coordinator with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. His recovery has been courageous and miraculous on many levels and continues to be supported by many, including by SHIELD616.
Christine recalls in their transition to a new normal, “In Dan's case we don't know what he needed. It wasn't body armor and it wasn't a helmet. It was for him to regain his freedom.”
Shield616 joined forces with the Adsit Strong Foundation and MC-1 to raise funds to help Dan get what he needed.
Dan says, “In 2018 they did a fundraiser for me to get an Action Track Chair. It’s basically a mini-tank for someone who is paralyzed and allows them to get off the beaten path and go places they couldn't in a normal wheelchair. I have taken mine down into the river to go fly-fishing, I have taken it hunting. I use it to get around our property. It's a really awesome tool that gives me that sense of freedom that I wouldn't have otherwise.”
It’s one reason why Dan and Christine are supporters of SHIELD616 and their mission to make first responders as safe as possible on the job.
Christine says, “SHIELD616 is so amazing because there are agencies out there that are small and can only provide so much. SHIELD616 comes in and assists that for these officers. It not only gives peace of mind to the officers but also to the families as well. If the families know that their cadets or law enforcement officer has the best equipment out there that's all you can ask for.”
KOAA is holding a virtual telethon on Thursday, September 10th, raising funds for Black Forest Fire and Rescue to outfit all 22 members of the department with rifle rated vests and helmets.
CLICK HERE to visit our donation page, and remember every dollar counts in supporting our local first responders.