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More Help Needed

I am thrilled to announce that fundraising efforts to support Ben, the Wilbraham Police Department K-9, are well underway. The police department recently acquired the specially trained "single scent discrimination" dog after it was generously donated to the town by the Wilbraham Lodge of Masons. The donation, nearly $15,000, paid for the K-9 as well as all related training expenses for the K-9 and his handler, Officer Joseph Brewer. Without this donation, it is unlikely that the police department would have ever afforded this valuable asset.

Before Ben even arrived in town, several groups or persons stepped up to the plate in support of the project. The Wilbraham Junior Women's Club pledged to pay for the food for Ben. Dr. Robert Shurtleff of Eastfield Animal Hospital graciously offered free veterinary care for the life of the dog.

Because the first year of a K-9 program is the most difficult financially, due to initial start-up costs for the purchases of equipment and housing for the dog, we are looking for community support for this valuable project.

Ben is a yellow Labrador Retriever specially trained to locate missing persons, in particular missing or abducted children. The K-9 is highly trained to track and locate children, missing elders and criminals fleeing crime scenes. Ben is one of approximately 20 dogs of his type nationwide, a valuable asset to Wilbraham and our surrounding communities.

With the help of Pamela Beall, Selectmen's Secretary, a fundraising brochure has been distributed. This is helping to get the word out about the program's needs.

As of Feb. 9, the following individuals or businesses have answered the call:

Nancy Schecterle, John Broderick, WalMart, Daniel Cochran, Shirley Facey, Sandra Sanders, Martha Hayn, Scott Williams, Cynthia Bolger, John Cochran, Daniel Gore, Wilbraham Unico, Wilbraham Rotary Club, Scantic Valley YMCA, David Nickerson, Larry Freed, Green Grass Irrigation, BPW Plastics, Alpha Oil, Monson Savings, Spartan Brake and Muffler, Rocky Mountain Wood Co., R&S Associates, Westcott G. Clark, Lotties Dog Grooming and David Hiersche.

Many thanks to those who have thus contributed. Additional contributions can be made by check to Wilbraham Police K-9 Gift Fund. Donations can be dropped off at Wilbraham Police Headquarters at 16 Main St. Officer Brewer and myself can be contacted by e-mail at youremail@youraddress.

Capt. Raymond J. Kallaugher

Wilbraham Police Department