LEWISTON — A Blue Triton/Poland Spring spokesperson said Thursday that the company will donate $150,000 to buy about 140 ballistic vests for first responders in Androscoggin County in response to the mass shooting.

Some, but not all, will go to the Lewiston Fire Department, and other vests will be distributed throughout the county to as many firefighters and emergency medical service responders as possible.

In November, the natural spring water company donated a half-million dollars to the Lewiston-Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce relief fund to help small businesses in Lewiston and Auburn impacted by the shootings, both during the lockdown and in the weeks afterward as people were hesitant to go out. One of the businesses that received funding was Schemengees Bar & Grille on Lincoln Street, where eight people died. Ten others were killed at Just-in-Time Recreation on Mollison Way.

Ben Dyer, of Auburn, who had worked as the dock coordinator at Poland Spring for nine years, was one of 13 people wounded in the mass shooting. He had been playing cornhole at Schemengees when he was shot in the right shoulder, arm and hand, perhaps by as many as five separate bullets.

The father of two lost his right index finger and suffered permanent injury to his right arm, and spent 19 days at Central Maine Medical Center recovering from surgery.

In a statement about the donation, BlueTriton Brands CEO Joey Bergstein said, “At Poland Spring we prioritize the safety of our associates, and the same should be true for the safety of area first responders.” He said the $150,000 donation will be made to the city of Lewiston to disburse to area fire and EMS departments.

And, Bergstein said, “We will continue to support our home state of Maine in meaningful ways, and we remain grateful to area first responders and their ongoing efforts to keep Mainers safe.”

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