Gastonia pharmacist donates COVID-19 safety supplies to police, firefighters

Updated: Apr. 17, 2020 at 8:54 PM EDT
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GASTONIA, N.C. (WBTV) - A pharmacist from Gastonia spent part of his Friday afternoon dropping off hygiene supplies for local first responders.

Vimal Patel, the pharmacy manager at Gaston Pharmacy in Gastonia, said he has been arranging special kits with some of the supplies needed to help combat the spread of COVID-19. He said he wanted to deliver the supplies to local first responders.

“Giving is greater than getting for the community,” said Patel. “I’ve been living here in Gaston County for 14 years and I always love to give back to the community.”

Patel said he had been planning the act of goodwill for a few weeks. After collecting supplies and bagging them up, he contacted Walker Reid, the mayor of Gastonia. Reid helped Patel distribute the supplies Friday afternoon and spoke to WBTV in an interview.

“Mr. Patel contacted me this morning and told me about what he wanted to do and asked me if I could put him in contact with the fire chief and the police chief,” explained Reid. “For him to offer this to our public safety officers means a lot.”

Patel’s first stop was at Gastonia Fire Station 1 on N. Myrtle School Road. The pharmacist met with Mark Rutherford, the deputy chief of the Gastonia Fire Department. Patel handed over several bags of the COVID-19 safety supplies. Each bag contained items like sanitizer, gloves, acetaminophen and an N95 mask. Rutherford said he was very thankful for the donations.

“The supply and demand has been so huge and we’ve had a hard time from day one just trying to get those supplies, the hand sanitizer, the N95, that’s been the hardest," explained the deputy chief.

After stopping at the fire station, Patel and Reid made the trek across town to the Gastonia Police Department headquarters. Patel delivered the rest of his supplies to the men and women at the department.

“This is just so wonderful for them to bring by medical supplies to us, N95 masks, hand sanitizer, some different things just to keep our officers safe and just the thought that goes behind that to support us during this difficult time I think is just wonderful,” said Gastonia Police Chief Robert Helton.

While the first responders appreciate Patel’s generous donation, the pharmacist said he is thankful for the service provided by the local first responders.

“They are working day and night for everyone’s safety and security. They are not taking day off even though their family are sick or something like that, so I appreciate a lot,” said Patel.

The pharmacist said he is hopeful that his actions will inspire other people to help each other in the community.

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