CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- While walking by three members of the band Everpulse, Herbert Hoover High School Principal Mike Kelly grabbed the shoulder of one young man.
"I'm proud of you guys," Kelly said to the three seniors.
Nearly a dozen sheriffs and deputies gathered at the school Friday to thank the band for thinking of their safety. At a concert in September, the band raised more than $700 for the West Virginia Sheriff's Association's fundraiser to purchase bulletproof vests.
"It's a great feeling, doing what you love and helping out others," said John Page, 17, who plays bass and sings backing vocals for Everpulse.
"As hard-rock musicians, we're judged a lot," said Daniel Woody, 17, lead singer and guitarist. The group hopes to change the perception that rockers are outcasts. "We want other teen bands to do the same thing we do -- start giving back."
Cody Carpenter, 17, plays the drums. He came up with the idea to raise money for what's known as the "In-Vest" program.
"I heard my mom talking about it a few times after that shooting happened," he said, referring to the incident last year in Clay County that resulted in the deaths of two West Virginia State Police troopers. A Roane County sheriff's deputy, who also was shot in that incident, had borrowed a vest from his part-time job as a city police officer. It probably saved his life, according to Cpl. Brian Humphreys of the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department.
"A lot of counties don't have the big tax base, like Kanawha and Cabell counties do," said Cabell County Sheriff Thom McComas, who presented the band members with certificates of appreciation.
With the help of Wood Boys Music Productions in Clendenin, the rock group, which also includes recent Herbert Hoover graduate Johnny Mollohan, organized a daylong event that included performances by several bands at the Elk River Community Center.
The $736 raised through donations, concessions and raffles, will buy one $500 vest that lasts five years. The rest of the money will go toward another vest, McComas said.