Officer Gets Vest,
BY KEN LITTLE
Thanks to the efforts of a South Greene High School parent, R.C. Brown now goes to work with a bulletproof vest.
Brown, the South Greene school resource officer, was presented with the vest several weeks ago by Kimberly Fillers, a South Greene parent who is a school booster and a PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) member.
The idea came to Fillers after watching news reports about violence in schools across the country.
She saw Brown at the high school one day and asked him if he had a bulletproof vest.
"He said he didn't have one, and he had to raise the money for one," Fillers said. "It went from there."
Brown is also on call at Camp Creek, DeBusk and Nolichuckey elementary schools, so Fillers went to the booster and PTO groups at South Greene and each of those schools and put in funding requests.
Several private businesses also contributed to the vest fund, including Fillers' business, Kimberly's Auto Sales.
Other businesses contributing to the fund included Jerry's Auto Salvage, Rush Towing and one anonymous donor, Fillers said.
Fillers said one of her children is a South Greene graduate, one currently attends the school and another is at Nolichuckey Elementary, one of the feeder schools for South Greene.
"I have a child that goes here, and I have another child coming up here, and I just felt (Brown) needed that if they came in shooting and he was hit once and he wouldn't be able to respond. If he had a vest, he would be able to take more action," she said.
About $800 was raised. Brown shopped for vests and found a quality model for about $700, Fillers said.
The remaining money was donated to the South Greene basketball team, which is planning a trip next year.
Brown, a 35-year law enforcement veteran, is grateful for the support.
"I thought it was fantastic when I didn't have a vest, them wanting to buy me one for when I was here. It was just awesome," Brown said.
Brown has been the school resource officer at South Greene for six years and held the same position for two years at North Greene High School. Before moving to Greene County, Brown was a school resource officer for five years in Sevier County.
Prior to coming to Tennessee, Brown spent a total of 20 years with the Florida Highway Patrol and the Marion County (Fla.) Sheriff's Department.
Brown was hired by the Greene County School Board. Dr. Vicki Kirk, director of schools, is his official supervisor. But when he puts on a uniform and badge and acts in a law enforcement capacity, "I'm governed by the sheriff," Brown said.
A bulletproof vest did not come with the position.
'A REAL GOOD GUY'
"It's very appropriate. It takes the burden off the central office, having to provide that. It's a nice gesture," said Teresa Broyles, South Greene assistant principal.
Brown is very appreciative of Fillers' efforts.
"I couldn't thank her enough," he said. "I'm sure she had to put in a lot of work to raise the funds."
South Greene parents, staff and students appreciate the work Brown does, Fillers said.
"He's a real good guy," she said. "He wears it every day now."