Photos courtesy Melaleuca
IDAHO FALLS — Sheriff deputies from the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office have much to celebrate thanks to a $50,000 donation that will buy the best body armor and ballistic helmets available on the market.
The donation by Melaleuca is in addition to $50,000 that The Wellness Company gave earlier this year. All told, Melaleuca has contributed $100,000 to help BCSO deputies protect themselves.
This top-of-the-line equipment can protect our heroes by withstanding multiple hits from high-caliber rifles and firearms, and it is better than the BCSO’s standard-issue soft armor vests that are merely designed to protect against pistol rounds.
“Every member of the law enforcement community deserves to return home safely to their loved ones at the end of the day,” said Melaleuca Executive Chairman Frank VanderSloot. “Their jobs are tough enough without having the best equipment in their hands. It’s the least we could do to make it available to them.”
The new equipment is designed to be comfortably worn all day, so it replaces the bulky vests and heavy plates that BCSO deputies previously wore. The new vests contain plates that slip in front of Kevlar panels, providing maximum protection while only weighing a few pounds and increasing a sheriff deputy’s mobility.
“In my 30 years of law enforcement, I’ve never seen a company or business owner step forward with such a significant donation in support of the men and women who bravely serve this community,” said Bonneville County Sheriff Samuel Hulse. “Melaleuca’s remarkable contribution not only shows strong support for the entire law enforcement family, but it also gives our hard-working deputies every advantage they need to protect the public.”
These high-quality armored vests are custom-fit for each deputy. Melaleuca’s $100,000 donation has outfitted 32 patrol deputies with these rifle-rated vests and helmets.
“These new vests provide an additional layer of protection, giving deputies and their families peace of mind,” said Sergeant Chris Norman, who has been wearing the new vest for several months. “We feel the added level of protection allows us to be much safer in our day-to-day work with minimal added weight. As law enforcement confronts the dangers of the job, we are grateful to Melaleuca for their generosity and support.”
Melaleuca has been a longstanding supporter of law enforcement officers.
In 2020, the company became a founding member and sponsor of the Greater Idaho Falls Police Foundation (GIFPF). This new foundation raises funds to help the area’s law enforcement community receive the tools and training they need to do their best work. It also seeks to provide mental health expertise to community members in crisis while supporting outreach programs that build relationships.
One of Melaleuca’s contributions to the GIFPF paid for a prominent trainer to provide a two-day workshop on emotional survival for police officers and their spouses. Members of the BCSO, the Idaho Falls Police Department, and the Idaho State Police attended for free.
In late 2018, VanderSloot offered 3,500 square feet of downtown office space to the Idaho Falls Police Department. Recognizing that the police department was facing an extreme shortage of physical space, Melaleuca extended the invitation for them to share the same facility that houses the Melaleuca Product Store. Since that time, the Idaho Falls Police Department has used Melaleuca’s space rent-free, and the company has covered all the utilities.
Additionally, The Wellness Company has donated money, equipment, supplies, products and land so that these brave heroes can do their jobs to protect and defend.
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