BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson announced Monday the launch of the “Deschutes First Response Fund,” a relief fund to support first responders working the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The relief fund, set up in the form of a GoFundMe page, is a vehicle for organizations and community members to donate to Deschutes County first responders to assist in the purchase of meals, lodging, services and equipment needed by first responders, in order to keep community members — and themselves — safe during this unprecedented time.
A simple inquiry form, found at deschutesfirstresponse.org, will give an avenue for members of the law enforcement and fire/EMS community in Deschutes County to submit requests for support for a wide variety of needs.
A committee made up of Sheriff Nelson, District Attorney John Hummel and Redmond Fire Chief Ken Kehmna will review the inquiries and oversee allocation of the fund.
“Every day, first responders are putting our community first by continuing to show up on the front lines and respond to emergency calls,” Nelson said.
“We also know that the worst is yet to come, and we have a chance now to address the needs of first responders. From adequate medical equipment to childcare to mental wellness — this fund will make sure resources are in place and fully funded, so first responders can focus on keeping the community safe when they go to work.”
In recent days, other funds in Central Oregon have been created to support health care workers and those financially impacted by the pandemic, so to fill the gap for relief supporting first responders, Nelson pledged donations from his political action committee to launch the Deschutes First Response Fund. Other community leaders also recognize the need and have come together to support those on the front lines.
“First responders face unique challenges as they keep our community safe,” Hummel said. “Like all of us, these people have families at home, they’re experiencing the same stresses all of us have as individuals -- and still they are committed to serving their community and seeing our incredible county through this pandemic. Let’s come together to support them.”
Go to deschutesfirstresponse.org to learn more and donate.