The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit will be at the spotlight of a new fundraising event April 20.
The $20 a plate steak fry takes place at 5 p.m. at the Catawba Township Community Hall, 3707 N.W. Catawba Road. The dinner includes a 16-ounce T-bone steak, potato, roll and salad. And while you enjoy the meal, there will be a host of auctions, raffles and D.J. entertainment.
Prizes include Ohio State University memorabilia, gift certificates and even two foursome golf outings with brunch at the Catawba Island club valued at $500 each.
An added treat will be the appearance of “The Big Nut” of OSU fame to sign autographs and take pictures.
This is the first time for the K-9 fundraiser being organized by Deputy Gary Howell.
“I just wanted our program to be the best that it can be,” said Howell, who joined the county law enforcement unit in 2010. “The canine unit is something that I am very passionate about.”
Howell is not the current canine officer. That position is held by Deputy Mark Nye and his canine companion, Nero, a three-year-old Belgium Malinois.
But Howell has aspirations to one day become a canine handler. “It is one of my goals,” he said.
In the meantime, the deputy is content to help build up the program run by one of his fellow officers.
The poor economy of recent years has caused county officials to cast scrutinizing eyes on any extras in the budget.
Howell hopes fundraisers like these can offset costs for training and equipment necessary to keep the K-9 unit in top shape.
Part of the fundraising includes two gun raffles. Three hundred and fifty tickets will be sold for $20 each for a chance to win a Kimber STS Stainless II pistol with night sights and a Ruger LCP 380 pistol.
Sheriff’s office funds were not used to purchase the guns. Howell used meal ticket revenue to cover the costs, he said.
“The owner of the Sportmen’s Club in Elmore gave us a good deal on the guns,” Howell said.
The sheriff’s office will perform the background checks on the winners. Afterward, they can collect their prizes at the Elmore club.
The sheriff’s office’s K-9 unit dates back to the late 1980s.
One of those to hold the position for a long time was handler Deputy Brad York. York was the K-9 officer from 1993 to around 2005. He was promoted to captain of operations when Sheriff Steve Levorchick took office in 2011. As part of his duties, York helps run the K-9 unit program now.
To donate to the cause or get tickets, contact the sheriff’s office at 419-734-4404 or Howell at 440-751-6105.