Community rallies to support wounded deputy and his family
Published 12:32 am Saturday, July 27, 2019
NATCHEZ — Residents from the Miss-Lou and beyond are pouring out their hearts and pocketbooks in support of Concordia Parish deputy Walter J. Mackel who was seriously wounded in the line of duty Thursday.
Mackel was shot while trying to locate an armed robbery suspect in a Vidalia apartment complex. Mackel exchanged gunfire, reportedly killing the assailant.
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Mackel was airlifted to University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson where he underwent surgery. Friends and family reported on social media that Mackel was improving, although he was in a lot of pain Friday.
“I want to thank God for holding my husband in his hands today,” Pamala Mackel wrote Thursday night. “Doctors have explained just how blessed he is considering the bullet entry and how severe this could’ve been.”
As Mackel recovers, individuals and community groups have rallied in support of the deputy and his family.
A Go Fund Me page was set up by Vidalia nurse practitioner Angela Letard on Thursday to help support Mackel and his family as the deputy recovers from his wounds.
“I know how expensive and devastating it can be financially,” Letard said.
Letard said she wanted to make a donation to the Mackel family to help but couldn’t find a place to give money.
“I thought, well I could do it myself,” Letard said.
At 6 p.m. Friday, the Go Fund Me page had raised $2,090 of the page’s $5,000 goal.
“The community support has been unbelievable,” Letard said.
Those interested in donating should go to https://www.gofundme.com/deputy-mackel.
In Vidalia, a group of local responders is collecting school supplies and uniforms for Mackel’s children.
“We work side-by-side with Mackel, and we wanted to take the stress off (his wife Pam), so her main focus can be taking care of Mack,” Maggie Dungan said.
Dungan, who works for American Medical Response said she and other members of the law enforcement community have set up drop off locations at the Vidalia Police Department accessible 24 hours a day and the American Medical Response office on John R. Junkin Drive in Natchez from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The group is looking for the following uniform sizes:
- Girl’s uniform for Vidalia schools: Shirts size 14-16, shorts junior size 6, shoes and socks size 8.
- Boy’s uniforms for Vidalia schools: Shirts size 7-8, shirts size 10-12, shirts size 14-16, shorts size 7-8, shorts size 10-12, shorts size 14-16, shoes and socks size 6, 3 and 2.
- Girls uniform for Natchez publics schools: Shirts size 6, shorts size 6 and shoes size 1.
Dungan posted a list of school supplies needed on her Facebook page. Those with questions can call Dungan at 318-719-1046 or Christy Bowman at 601-807-1958.
The Southern Connection Police Supplies in Ridgeland is also donating a Glock 43 to help raise money for the Mackel Family.
Raffle tickets will be $5 individually or five tickets for $20. All of the money raised through the ticket sales will go to the Mackel family. For more information call 601-502-4901, 601-238-2170 or 601-906-4339.
The Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office is accepting cards and letter for the Mackel family.
“Please send any correspondence to the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office at 4001 Carter Street, Room 7, Vidalia, LA 71373 and we will deliver them kindly to him and his family for you,” the sheriff’s office posted on their Facebook page.
As donation efforts ramped up, residents across the country left messages of inspiration and support for Mackel on social media since the shooting.
Among the most poignant are the ones for whom they owe Mackel their lives.
“Please pray for my hero and friend Walter J Mackel who was shot in the line of duty today,” Natchez resident Courtney Taylor wrote on Facebook Thursday. “Walter, a former Navy Corpsman, was the first responder to my house when I suffered sudden cardiac death. He was key to my survival. Mine is one of many lives that Walter has saved. He is a gift to this world.”
“Nothing but God!,” wrote Nikole Bacon. “This fella will go above and beyond for anyone and would make sure you(‘re) good!”
“When I heard earlier he was alert and talking all I could think was, ‘OF COURSE HE IS!’One. Tough. Dude.” wrote Kate Foley Feltus. “If you didn’t know before, surely you know now just how loved and respected you are in the Miss-Lou and beyond Walter J Mackel. Thank you for your service, my friend.”