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Thursday, September 26, 2013
The two Chick-fil-A locations in Roanoke plan to donate a portion of sales tonight to benefit a city police officer who kept working during torrential July flooding even after seeing his own house under water.
Roanoke police Officer Patrick Perkins was at work on July 10 during the record-setting flash flooding that prompted dozens to have to be rescued by emergency workers in boats. He kept working after quickly checking on his home to find water nearly 8 feet high in his furnished basement and elsewhere.
He confirmed his girlfriend and dog were safe, and went back out into the storm to help his fellow officers and community.
"I couldn't save my house, maybe I could save other people's," Perkins said that week. "That is my job. That is what I am supposed to do."
Perkins didn't have flood insurance. In the days after his house was heavily damaged, the Officer Perkins Relief Fund was set up at the Roanoke Valley Community Credit Union.
The Chick-fil-A locations at 4805 Valley View Boulevard Northwest and at 4110 Southern Hills Drive Southwest are set to donate a portion of their proceeds from 4 to 8 p.m. today to Perkins' fund.
People who wish to participate in the fundraiser need to present a flier, available on the local Chick-fil-A's Facebook page.
Perkins couldn't immediately be reached for comment. He spent two years in the Army and said in July that he wished the injured veterans in Roanoke got more attention and donations than he was getting.
"We've got combat veterans in this city that have gotten blown up and come back to work," said Perkins, noting he never saw combat. "We got some real heroes, not me."
The fund was established in part with assistance by the police department, but is not being run by its administration. Perkins is the brother of Chief Chris Perkins.
Sgt. John Stephens, who is coordinating the fund and other nonmonetary donations, said the community support since July has been incredible.
He said about $5,000 has been raised so far, but estimated Patrick Perkins has spent nearly $15,000 out of pocket, including gutting his basement, replacing household appliances and removing mold.
"The community outreach has been really positive," he said. "There's been a ton of people that have called up from day one who were willing to donate money, furniture, food."
Others have offered volunteer labor if they didn't have money to spare, Stephens said.
Perkins has been displaced from his home while repair work has been done there.
"It's actually been somewhat overwhelming," he said. "We don't do this for the money. We do this because we truly care about the community. So when the community comes out and does something like this, I think it's proof we have a strong partnership with the community we serve."
Donations are also being coordinated by the Virginia State Police, said spokesman Sgt. Rob Carpentieri.
"It's a brotherhood," he said. "Any police officer - we want to help. We're going to try to support other police officers in need."
Aside from stopping by a Chick-fil-A in Roanoke this evening, people can donate money at any Roanoke Valley Community Credit Union by referencing the Officer Perkins Relief Fund. People interested in setting up donations of labor or goods can email HelpOfficerPerkins@roanokeva.gov or call 540-853-5437.
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