Gardner-Webb Trustee’s Gift Increases Safety for University Police

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Frank Stewart Donates Gear Manufactured by Premier Body Armor to GWU Officers

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—New steel body gear will help Gardner-Webb University Police better protect their lives as they serve and defend the security of the campus, thanks to a generous gift from a GWU trustee and Premier Body Armor of Kings Mountain, N.C., a manufacturer of protective equipment for law enforcement personnel.

Frank Stewart, owner of Premier Body Armor and current chair of the Gardner-Webb Board of Trustees, donated body armor systems for eight University officers during a presentation in GWU’s Tucker Student Center on June 10. Each set of gear includes a vest, lightweight front and back steel plates that conform to an officer’s body for comfortable wear and two insert plates to provide extra protection against dangerous objects.

“The vest an officer normally carries will protect against handguns, but it does not offer protection against everything,” Stewart shared. “This body armor provides extra protection against high-powered rifles and other ammunition, allowing officers to confront a situation with much more confidence.”

GWU Trustee Frank Stewart, who owns Premier Body Armor of Kings Mountain, N.C., describes the gear.

In the past decade, more than 500 American officers have died after suffering gunshot injuries while on duty, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a nonprofit organization that honors and remembers the service of American law enforcement officers. Because of the danger of the profession, all efforts to increase officer safety are critical measures of support, offered Barry Johnson, GWU Chief of University Police.

“We appreciate that there are great people like Mr. Stewart who realize what we face every day as officers, with things that happen nationwide and things that can happen here at Gardner-Webb,” Johnson added. “It makes us feel good that people in the community support us and want to ensure that we are as safe as we can be.”

Chief of University Police Barry Johnson shares his appreciation for the body armor donation.

Stewart has worked for years to develop and deliver elite safety products, previously through companies including prime defense contractor Ultra Armoring, with specialty in design, engineering and armoring for military operations. That experience in armor fabrication and design expertise have led to the creation of the body armor equipment that Gardner-Webb University Police will now carry.

“I’m so happy to be able to do this for the University and the police officers,” Stewart said. “Hopefully, they never have to use it, but if they do it will be there.”

Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Kings Mountain, N.C., Premier Body Armor provides complete body armor systems to defend against handguns, shotguns and high-powered rifles. For more information about the company and its products, visit

Located in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb University’s purpose is to advance the Kingdom of God through Christian higher education by preparing graduates for professional and personal success, instilling in them a deep commitment to service and leadership, and equipping them for well-rounded lives of lasting impact, Pro Deo et Humanitate (For God and Humanity).