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Police, Residents Benefit From Community Donation
Doing their best social distancing while still staying within the frame of the photo, Escalon Police accepted a donation of homemade masks on Friday. From left, Officer Carl Poortinga, Interact Club member Emily Weeks, Police Chief Mike Borges, Escalon Sunrise Rotary Club member John Weeks, Officer Lawrence Baldonado. Marg Jackson/The Times

The presentation of washable, reusable masks was made at the Escalon Police Department – but other masks went across the way to City Hall and still more are available at Paddack Manor for residents there.

All have been donated by the community, in an effort coordinated primarily through the Escalon Sunrise Rotary Club and the Escalon United Methodist Church.

Rotary Club representatives John Weeks and Diane Alcorn, along with Interact Club member, Escalon High School freshman Emily Weeks, stopped by the Escalon Police Department on Friday morning, May 8 to drop off the masks. Interact is the youth arm of Rotary and has an active chapter on the EHS campus.

Rotarian Weeks said there were some 30 masks donated for the police; they are washable and reusable and provide a measure of protection during these COVID-19 days.

“We’ve taken over 100 of them around town,” Weeks added, with others also going to the Haven of Peace shelter in Stockton. At Paddack Manor, residents can obtain a mask by going to Space 169; those are for residents of the mobile home park only.

Several more, however, were delivered on Friday to Escalon City Hall.

Police Chief Mike Borges accepted the masks on behalf of his police officers and said the department is appreciative.

“In all my 40 years of law enforcement, I’ve never seen anything like this,” the chief noted, adding that he has been through SARS, the H1N1 flu and more. “This is very, very different.”

Alcorn said they hoped there were enough to distribute a couple of masks to all officers, so they can wear one while the other is being washed and dried.

“These will come in handy,” agreed the chief.

He said the department also recently received a donation from E&J Gallo of the new hand sanitizer the firm is producing in bulk.

Weeks said the outpouring of support and the care and concern being shown around the community is a “silver lining in an otherwise uncomfortable situation.”

It has become routine procedure for fire and ambulance personnel to wear the added layer of personal protective equipment on calls and the police will now have the face coverings routinely available as well.

Chief Borges said there has been an increase in certain types of calls coming in to the department during the pandemic, with several assaults seen during April along with some arrests for driving under the influence and a robbery case in which the victim believes he was drugged and property taken after he had passed out.

“It has been an interesting time,” the chief said.

The face coverings presented to the Escalon Police Department on Friday were made by members of the Escalon Sunrise Rotary, Escalon United Methodist Church and several community members, all joining in the effort. Marg Jackson/The Times