SALYERSVILLE – What started as a custom hat order at Independent Signs turned into a much bigger fundraiser for the Floyd County Sheriff Department’s K9 unit following the recent tragic police shooting that resulted in the death of three officers and one K9 unit.
Independent Signs, a subsidiary of Mortimer Media Group and the Salyersville Independent, Graphic Designer Patrick Clark had a personal connection to Drago, with his sister, Katie, and brother-in-law, Scott Fraley with Fraley’s Training Services, in Paintsville, Kentucky, and his brother, Brandon Clark, involved in the ongoing training to keep Drago sharp.
“At first it was an order of hats just for them – the handlers and trainers that had worked with Drago – for the memorial service, but after I showed Ritt [Mortimer, owner and operator of Mortimer Media Group] saw the design, he came up with the idea of selling the hats and some decals as a fundraiser for the Floyd County Sheriff Department’s K9 unit,” Clark said.
As soon as Clark posted the hats and decals on the SI’s Facebook, his brother-in-law, Scott Fraley shared it with his training groups and orders started coming in from all over, with 340 orders scheduled to date and shipments going all over the state and as far away as New York.
“We’re still getting and accepting orders,” Clark said, noting people can email him at email@example.com or call 606-349-2915 to place an order.
Though Clark has helped his brother with training dogs in the past, he never worked directly with Drago, though he was present for some of his trainings.
“When they got him, he was a fully-trained Belgian Malinois, so their training was just to keep him sharp,” Clark said. “I’ve seen them work with him and they’d go in and do drug detection, do bite work, run towards him like they were going to attack and having Drago chase them down. He was ready to work. Out of all the dogs I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a lot come through, he was a hard-working dog and he was good at it.”
After hearing the news out of Allen, Clark said he just wanted to help.
“This is something that just doesn’t happen here,” Clark said. “I wanted to support them [the police] as much as I can.”
He said he knows the purchase and training of a police service dog cost upwards of $25,000 or more, so he knew the funds would be much needed.
All proceeds from the sales will go directly to the Floyd County Sheriff Department and people can follow the Salyersville Independent on Facebook or Independent Signs (@IndependentSigns) on Instagram for future information about the sales and we will update this story with the total amount raised when the fundraiser is closed.