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Volunteers assist protesters during gatherings

Posted at 6:13 PM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-08 19:13:06-04

PAPILLION, Neb. (KMTV) — Despite the heat, tear gas, and other elements, groups of protesters still made their voices heard for more than a week around Omaha. But a smaller group of people were on standby to make sure they got the aid they needed to keep their messages going.

“We just believe being present when people are going through struggles, and a lot of kids out here and a lot of adults, this is a struggle,” said Capt. John Gantner of the Salvation Army in Omaha.

He says with everything going on across the area, he wanted to help those making their voices heard.

“The Salvation Army will show up at just about anything, a disaster or usually by request, but we have water, Gatorade for hydration, a few snacks,” said Gantner.

Gantner provided snacks and water to protesters and on a 90-degree day last week, which was a big help to those outside.

“It’s just exciting to see that there are people that have not only sign making skills and they can protest and donate, but they can donate their time and their medical skills, and they can bring the snacks that people need during these times to survive in hot weather,” said Aimee Correa.

She attended a peaceful protest in Papillion. She also says seeing people providing help is inspiring, but Gantner is one of many who’ve assisted along the way.

When protesters were tear-gassed, people came to their aid with water and milk to rinse their face. Others had first aid kits ready for those with any injuries, and their help hasn’t gone unnoticed.

“They’ve been very supportive, and it’s just one way of protesting and one way of supporting the BLM movement,” said Nic Caberos, who also attended the protest in Papillon.

Gantner says the death of George Floyd was felt within the Salvation Army, and he’s glad to help in any way possible.

“George Floyd, who was killed in Minnesota, was an employee of the Salvation Army in the past. He worked for the Salvation Army for a couple of years as a security guard right there in Minnesota. So it’s near and dear to us at the Salvation Army the loss of his life, any life, and we just want to stand up for what’s right,” said Gantner.

Those at the protest in Papillion also say the Papillion police chief provided water to help keep everyone hydrated.