“GABO goes HOME! Released from the vet just three days after sustaining five gunshot wounds (in the line of duty). The vest he was wearing donated by Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is credited with saving his life.” These are the opening lines just last week about a K9 officer from Arkansas that was saved by his bullet and stab proof vest.
Having both of her siblings and a lot of family and friends in corrections and law enforcement, an extreme soft spot in her heart for dogs, and the utmost respect for both, Amy Ethier knew exactly where her My95 donation would go- Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. (VIK9). Amy was initially introduced to VIK9 at a fundraiser for the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society and fell in love with the idea of helping to protect those who are protecting us. She couldn’t believe that there were so many police K9s working without any protection/vests at all. What she also didn’t realize was just how many of her colleagues shared the same sentiments. As she shared her donation idea, more and more people expressed an interest in doing the same. Just one bullet and stab proof vest for a K9 typically costs between $1,795 - $2,234 and have a warranty of five years from the manufacturer. A donation to Vested Interest in K9s of $950 provides a vest to protect one law enforcement K9. With all the interest from Amy’s colleagues, there was enough money to donate TWO bullet and stab proof vests to be custom made for the department of our choice, the Schenectady Police Department. A fitting choice because of Marvin and Company’s roots.
Marvin and Company was founded in 1923 in Schenectady, NY, and the purpose of the “My95 Campaign” is to celebrate our history and our 95th birthday by giving back to our community. Our office locations have since moved through Albany, and into Latham and Queensbury, but our roots are in Schenectady. It is our honor to donate two much needed vests to Officer Sean Clifford & K-9 Officer "Ramo" and Officer Kevin C. Derkowski & K-9 Officer "Flynn" of the Schenectady, NY Police Department.
Participating in the group donation from Marvin and Company were 20 staff members, including: Amy L. Ethier, Andrew A. Matthews, Alan W. Clink, Brian D. Foster, Charles C. Smith, Christopher J. Healy, Christianna Halek, Debra L. Smith, Heather D. Patten, Jessica L. Olszowy, Lucas M. Madonna, Michael J. Brunell, Mark E. Thornhill, Jr., Myra M. Thorne, Phillip J. Zdanowski, Rachel A. Reynolds, Sean M. Daley, Veronica L. Maheux, Timothy M. Parkes, and Megan Tan.
Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501c(3) charity located in East Taunton, MA whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. The non-profit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with this potentially lifesaving body armor for their four-legged K9 officers. Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provided over 2,000 protective vests in 50 states, through private and corporate donations, at a cost of over 1.7 million dollars. All vests are custom made in the USA by Armor Express in Central Lake, MI.
The program is open to dogs actively employed in the U.S. with law enforcement or related agencies who are certified and at least 20 months of age. New K9 graduates, as well as K9s with expired vests, are eligible to participate.
There are an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the United States. For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, please call 508-824-6978. Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provides information, lists events, and accepts tax-deductible donations of any denomination at www.vik9s.org.