American Body Armor, part of the BAE Systems Products Group, honored Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Detective Jared Reston by inducting him as a Legion of Life survivor following a shooting in which an ABA bullet-resistant vest helped save the 29-year-old officer's life.
The recognition ceremony, which was held on the very same production floor that made the ABA Xtreme XT vest that helped save Reston, recognized Reston's service and valor and came just a month after Reston was shot six times while pursuing a shoplifting suspect.
The Legion of Life is a BAE Systems Products Group national program that educates and encourages officers to wear their body armor by providing a no-cost replacement vest to any officer who is saved in the line of duty while wearing a BAE Systems ballistic product. Since its inception, the Legion of Life program has provided more than 500 replacement vests for officers whose lives have been saved by body armor while serving their community. The Legion of Life also makes donations to the National Law Enforcement Fund on behalf of officers who are saved by ballistic products.
"The Legion of Life program reflects our goal of protecting those who protect us," said John Geshay, Director of Body Armor Marketing for BAE Systems Products Group. "We're proud to work with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and we're extremely happy that we're able to be here today to recognize Jared Reston, his courage, and his dedication."
Reston was presented with a replacement ABA bullet-resistant vest and a Legion of Life medal. Additionally, a plaque bearing Reston's name was added to the Legion of Life Board and American Body Armor will make a donation to the National Law Enforcement Fund on Reston's behalf.
On hand to honor Reston were many of his fellow officers of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, as well as the employees of BAE Systems Products Group. Reston personally thanked the men and women who manufactured the vest that helped save his life.
"I'm so thankful to be here today and be able to thank everyone who had a hand in making that vest," Reston said. "I can truly say that if it wasn't for those at American Body Armor I wouldn't have the opportunity to be here and celebrate with my friends and fellow officers."
Reston was chasing a suspect involved in a possible shoplifting in Jacksonville, Fla. on the night of January 26 when, according to witnesses, the suspect fired a .45-caliber Glock semiautomatic handgun. The bullet struck Reston in the jaw, knocking him to the ground. According to news reports, the gunman continued to fire at Reston, but Reston's Xtreme XT vest stopped three shots at point blank range, allowing Reston to defend himself, and successfully return fire.
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