Branson veterans group donates $20,000 to police for new K-9

Those who served their country are now serving their community in Branson.

Branson's chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America gave a $20,000 donation to the police department for a new police dog.
Officers say as the needs continue to grow in the city, the new dog will help them better serve the community.

Branson's only police dog Tiago will soon have a fellow furry officer.

"It will expand our availability to cover more in the daily tasks," Officer Frank Hirahara said.

As Tiago's handler, Hirahara says the dog is a big asset to the department.

"Narcotics searches, vehicles, inside buildings. We can use him to locate suspects," Hirahara said.

However, sometimes the demands are too much for just one K-9.

"He needs rest, just like me," Hirahara said.

That's where Branson's chapter of the Vietnam Veteran's of America comes in.

"This year, we wanted to give back to our community," Veteran Bob Sarver said.

With the help of local sponsors, the group raised money for a new canine for the police department as their “special project,” something that the veterans do aside from their usual support for other veterans.

"Very honestly, we stepped out in faith. We weren't sure because the cost was $20,000 and that is the purchase of the dog, the training of the dog, and the training of the handler," Sarver said.

They say as the nation honors their brothers and sisters in uniform who gave the ultimate sacrifice this Memorial Day, they continue to serve, too.

"We are still in service to America. Your oath when you go on active duty doesn't have an expiration on it," Chapter President Bruce Greeno said.

Police department leaders say they're grateful to these veterans' dedication to service.

"These are guys that, not only did they sacrifice in the service to their country, but now they continue to sacrifice for their community as well," Bruce Greeno said.

Officers promise to continue to serve the community, too, with the help of this generous gift.

"We are nothing without our community and without that good relationship and without that partnership," Assistant Chief Eric Schmitt said.

The department now has to select the officer to become the handler of the new dog and then buy the dog as well as the training for the officer and the K-9.