‘We want to help them protect their country’: Norridge Police Department donates body armor and other supplies to Ukraine

CHICAGO (SCS) — On Tuesday, the Chicago nonprofit is teaming up with Chicago-area law enforcement to protect those fighting for Ukraine.

They collect and ship bulletproof vests, 5,000 miles away. CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports from the Norridge Police Department with a story you’ll only see on CBS 2.

The Norridge Police Department is among the departments donating to this effort. Bulletproof vests will be sent to Poland this Friday, with the aim of protecting those involved in humanitarian efforts and those on the front lines in Ukraine.

More than a dozen bulletproof vests line this wall inside the Copernicus Center, a Polish-American nonprofit in Jefferson Park. Some came from current and retired Chicago police officers. Helmets and first aid kits were also donated.

“We are extremely, extremely overwhelmed with the amount of support we are receiving,” said Zenon Kurdziel, board member of the Copernicus Foundation.

The Copernicus Foundation Board decided to launch the body armor donation effort on March 10. So far they have about 80 donations.

“It’s amazing that everyone wants to help and everyone wants to get involved, because one of them, every one of them, can save lives,” said Kamila Sumelka, executive director of the Copernicus Center.

This sentiment is shared by the Norridge Police Department. They donate seven bulletproof vests.

“We want to help them protect their country and literally protect their own lives,” said Wayne Schober, deputy chief of the Norridge Police Department.

All vests, helmets and first aid kits will be shipped to Poland on Friday. They will be brought to the Ukrainian border and distributed to aid workers and those on the front lines.

“A life we ​​save is worth the effort we put into it,” Kurdziel said.

Some of the Kevlar vests offered are brand new. Others have been used. Even if a vest is outdated, it is useful.

“It still has the ability to protect you from additional fragments or small pistol shots,” Schober said.

The Copernicus Centre’s desire to help those in need does not stop with the body armor donation effort.

The center raised $35,000 last Sunday with an event featuring local Polish and Ukrainian artists. The money will be donated to approved organizations that help Ukrainians in need.

The Copernicus Center is still accepting donations of body armor and will do so, they say, as long as they are needed in Ukraine.


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