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Kiwanis Club of MC Raises Funds for K9 Project

By Jackie Holfelder

The 2018 killing of Cigo, a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office K9 who was chasing a suspect at the time, was the inspiration for a Kiwanis Club of Martin County project that came to a successful conclusion this past December.

The youngsters who are affiliated with Kiwanis encouraged members of the non-profit to reach out to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) to see about raising money to buy bullet-proof vests for MCSO K9s.

Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Pearlman assured the Kiwanians that the K9 Unit had the protective vests but could use equipment like bite sleeves, bite suits, muzzles, tug toys, special leashes and harnesses.

The Kiwanis Club of Martin County chose this to be their 2019 project, and contacted Key Clubs from Jensen Beach and Martin County High Schools, the Builders Club from Stuart Middle School, and the K Kids Clubs from Pinewood, Felix Williams, Bessey Creek, and Parker Elementary Schools

MCSO K9 Unit dogs and officers visited each of the schools, demonstrating what the dogs do to assist in arrests and crime solving. The fascinated young members of each Club were motivated to plan projects that would raise money to donate to the Sheriff’s Department.

Projects included such things as bake sales, selling lapel pins with the likeness of a K9 Unit member and crafts.

Additionally, the Kiwanis Club of Martin County applied for – and received - two grants through the Florida Kiwanis Foundation to add to the donation.

Between that grants and projects, $2,000 was raised – in spite of local schools to be shut down before the project was completed, as a result of the pandemic.

On December 3, 2020, the Kiwanis Club of Martin County presented a check for $2,000 to the MCSO K9 Unit at a ceremony attended by the canines and their handlers, Jensen Beach Key Club and its sponsor, Jeannette Utech, Kiwanis liaisons, Paulette and Marvin Crawford and members of the Kiwanis Club of Martin County.

To learn more about the Kiwanis Club of Martin County, visit

Photos provided by Kiwanis Club of Martin County



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