Birmingham police officer travels to Florida capital to give face masks to those in need

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WIAT) — One of Birmingham’s finest is doing his part to help others in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lane Harper, a member of the Birmingham Police Department, is finding time away from work for another drive-thru free mask giveaway. Over the weekend, he took a break from his normal duties protecting Birmingham residents and took his non-profit group, Power of Life Foundation, to Florida to address the rising number of coronavirus cases in Alabama.

“When I’m driving, I get to meditate,” Harper said. “I get to strategically plan or picture how the event is going to go.”

The event Harper hit the road for 300 miles away was helping people in Tallahassee, Florida battle coronavirus, where cases are surging again.

“I want to bless that area where people know we’re effective and we can help flatten the curve in this particular area that will be in Tallahassee,” he said.

Accompanying Team Harper were volunteers like Ashley Wallace, who traveled to Florida with her sewing machine to stitch the last batch of cloth masks for his free mask giveway.

“He’s definitely a helper and I guess I’m cut from the same cloth, so it was so nice to meet someone who was just as passionate about giving back,” Wallace said.

At the Leon County fairgrounds, Harper’s drive-thru mask giveaway resonated with the community. Cars showed up by the hundreds as people patiently waited in long lines to get the much-needed blessing.

“We need this badly and you can tell by the number of people, they’ve been here parked since about 6:30 this morning to get in, it’s 9 o’clock now, we just opened up and the cars are wrapped around the fairgrounds here,” Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil said.

Harper partnered with Farm share that distributed 39,000 pounds of food and passed out milk, chicken, eggs and produce.

“We’re reaching out to give them in a sweet way to give them a little hug that God got you, hang in there, we love you and we’re going to make it through this pandemic moment together,” Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor said.

A total of 9,000 masks were handed out by Harper and his team in Tallahassee, leaving him with a sense of accomplishment as he returned to Birmingham.

“I’m very very happy and I’m very very thankful,” he said.

Harper said he and his volunteers stand ready to respond wherever they are needed. Among the cities next in line for his mask giveaway are Montgomery and Macon, Georgia.


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