MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - Sgt. Lancen Shipman with the Moss Point Police Department is on his phone a lot. He can’t believe the damage to the area in which he once served.
“Some of the areas that I worked in for years, knew like the back of my hand, I don’t even recognize it now, the pictures they were showing me,” he said. “I can’t even tell you where they’re at.”
Shipman served as a deputy with the Bay County Sheriff's Office in Panama City until 2007.
“These guys are my brothers,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of things with these guys and worked many years with them. So, yeah, I was concerned with them.”
Shipman is now organizing a collection drive for the department. The items include clothes to over-the-counter medications. All of the items collected will be going to anyone who needs it, but the focus is on first responders. And Shipman is finding that it’s hard to do that because even though they need the items, they don’t ask for them.
“I mean, they’re hurting bad,” Shipman said. “They’re victims just like anybody else, but they kind of got to put their stuff to the side and keep moving through things. For the most part, they don’t want to put themselves before anybody else.”
But he said the devastation is hard to ignore.
“They’ve seen their house but can’t do anything with it,” he said. “They are working 16-hour days and they’re sleeping at the station or sleeping a friend’s house that actually has a roof, some of them, most of their houses got the roof ripped off them.”
Shipman said officers are asking for energy drinks to keep up with demand. And, he added, he’s had one other request.
“They told me, ‘Man, we’d really like to have some gum.”
The collection will end Oct. 24, and the supplies will be delivered sometime after that.
You can deliver items during business hours at the Public Safety complex on Bellview Avenue.
Among the suggested items include gift cards, T-shirts, socks, underwear, baby supplies, tarps, water, non-perishable food items, batteries, toiletries, cleaning supplies, over-the-counter pain medications and toilet paper.