“Pennies for a Police Dog” fundraiser had customers howling their support
By Brandi Makuski
That’s the amount of time it took customers at Jay-Mar, Inc. in Plover to raise $1,000 for the village’s new police K-9 unit.
During its “Pennies for a Police Dog” fundraiser — the idea of store employee Lisa Hahn, a resident of Hancock — customers were asked to donate by rounding up payments for their purchases.
“If your total came to, let’s say, $17.63, we’d ask if they’d like to round up to $18, and that’s how we did it,” said Tony Grapsas, president at Jay-Mar. “We’re talking — literally — pennies, nickles, dimes at a time. To me, that just tells me the community is all behind the K-9 unit and it has full community support.”
Grapsas said he first learned of the fundraiser by reading about the department’s first-ever K-9 officer, a female German Shepard named Ice, in the newspaper earlier this year, at which point he knew the business wanted to help.
“We told customers Jay-Mar will match [donations] up to $1,000, and that’s what we’ve done,” Grapsas said on Wednesday. “So we’re donating $2,000 today.”
Grapsas said his store also made arrangements to have dog food donated for the duration of Ice’s service, which Police Chief Dan Ault estimates to be about eight years in length.
“I want people to know this is the community’s dog; I want people to see her, to interact with her,” said Ault, who added his department has raised more than $33,000 of the $50,000 needed to get the program off the ground. “This donation, and all the donations we’ve received, really, just solidify how necessary that is.”
Grapsas said the store had previously also arranged dog food donations for Lady, a K-9 officer at the Portage Co. Sheriff’s Office, and will continue to be supportive of both department’s K-9 operations.
“To see how supportive the customers were, I mean, it’s just really encouraging,” Grapsas said. “It really shows you how much everyone in this community does care.”
The Jay-Mar contribution is just the latest in a series of recent donations, Ault said.
“This has been 100 percent raised from the community, from a little kid who gives us a couple of bucks to this kid to came in the other day and gave us $100 he’d gotten for his birthday, to larger donations from local residents and businesses,” Ault said. “It’s pretty humbling. I don’t like asking the public for money, I want this to be a one-time thing, and then have the program sustain itself.”
Ice is currently in a training program at Haus Von Stolz Kennels in Lomira, a small city just south of Fond du Lac, and is expected to report for her first day of active duty at PPD sometime in December.