A Gathering Place targeted by vandals
Published 10:04 am Friday, April 21, 2023
BY LANCE GAITHER
Danville Police are investigating vandalism of A Gathering Place senior activity center and adult daycare that they say occurred late last Saturday night. Police say the vandals threw bricks through bus windows, discharged fire extinguishers in the buses, scattered trash, ripped the door off of a storage shed and more.
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“We have significant damage to glass on two buses and significant damages to the interior of all three,” said A Gathering Place Executive Director Ben Guerrant. “Two of those buses have wheelchair lifts. We had a client who was supposed to come yesterday and he requires a wheelchair. He couldn’t come, we had no way to get him here safely. We are trying to figure out how to get him to his doctor appointments without a wheelchair lift. It has created a ripple effect of problems.”
The vandals also targeted county property.
“Where we have been an emergency shelter for Boyle County EMS, they have been housing a trailer with emergency supplies,” Guerrant said. “They damaged the lights on that trailer. It is upsetting the amount of damage that was done.”
Guerrant thinks thew vandals didn’t fully understand the repercussions of their actions.
“They didn’t have a little joyride and have a little fun braking glass,” Guerrant said. “They have made it difficult for people who need to go to the doctor, or the pharmacy or to the grocery store, they have prevented them from being able to do that because they can’t get there. Our Meals On Wheels delivery scheduled has been altered. It is not just kids out their having fun braking stuff because they think it is fun or cool, they have put a massive hamper on our ability to serve the community in the way we have been used to.”
The buses being vandalized has also affected the adult day care at A Gathering Place and resulted in many planned trips and activities being canceled due to lack of transportation.
“Our clients need those wheelchair lifts to board the bus, those trips can’t happen until the bus is repaired,” Guerrant said. “It is not just one person or group that has been affected, it is community wide. I hope whoever has done this realizes that and has the courage to come forward and admit that they have done that.”
Nothing was stolen by the vandals, a full estimate of the damage by insurance adjusters is still ongoing. Investigation of the scene by police has provided leads.
“They have taken some fingerprints off surfaces they could,” Guerrant said “A fire extinguisher was recovered from under oner bus and they hope they can get some finger prints. It does look like it was the work of kids based off the footprints left in the powder from the fire extinguisher.
Guerrant is thankful for the support from the community.
“The situation is what it is. We can’t change it but we can recover from it, We can try to make a positive from a negative” Guerrant said. “The community response is unbelievable. I can’t the number of responses we have to the Facebook post, personal messages I have gotten, calls to the center, texts, even people stopping me out in the community. The community is just disgusted with what has happened here. You have a vulnerable group of people that have essentially been attacked. It is unfortunate, shameful, and frankly a disgusting act.”
Danville Police are asking anyone with information regarding the vandals to contact them. They are asking residents of the neighborhood to review any security footage they have to spot any suspicious people or behavior. Assistant Chief Glenn Doan hopes that those responsible will come forward.
Those wishing to provide assistance to A Gathering Place can make a donation on their website at agatheringplace.org, or volunteer for their Meals On Wheels program.