Christ the King, Newtown, Connecticut, and the LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry suffered a significant loss with the passing of their beloved handler Dave Erikson. Dave was a kind, gentle man and touched many lives.
As a handler for LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Maggie (Christ the King Lutheran Church - Newtown, Connecticut), he regularly visited the following places and brightened up people’s day when he arrived:
LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Abraham (Trinity - Hicksville, New York), Addie (Immanuel - Danbury, Connecticut), and Leah (Immanuel - Danbury, Connecticut) and their teams joined LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Maggie’s team at Christ the King on Saturday, September 25, as family and friends gathered for the Memorial Service for Dave Erikson. The LCC K-9 Ministry teams were there to be a comforting and compassionate presence as Dave’s family and friends said their goodbyes.
Family and friends were able to sign a Heart of Mercy and Compassion displayed on a cross and write messages of love and prayers in remembrance of Dave.
On Friday, August 13, LCC was honored to pay tribute to murder victim Keishanay Bolden, who was 18 when she lost her life in May 2020. Delivered by Pastor John Brazeal of Christ the King, Chicago, Illinois, a Heart of Mercy & Compassion, Crosses for Losses was presented to Keishanay’s mother, Crystal. Pastor John spent time with Crystal and two of her children, sharing prayers and encouragement. The Heart and Cross will stand as a beacon of hope and love to this grieving family.
In February of this year, St. Michael's Lutheran Church in Bloomington, Minnesota, placed a Cross and Heart of Mercy & Compassion on behalf of the community of Buffalo, Minnesota, following a mass shooting at Allina Health Clinic in Buffalo that occurred on February 9. As a result of the shooting, Lindsay Overbay, a Medical Assistant at the clinic, was killed, and three others were critically injured.
In the last week, St. Michael’s ministry team has been back to Buffalo twice to support the community through public events and a sunflower field planted to honor Lindsay Overbay, the Allina Clinic, and the City of Buffalo.
The heart marker placed in February still stands at the entrance to the Allina Clinic, and lawn signs were added last Tuesday. On Sunday evening, at a community event to support the clinic and community of Buffalo, the ministry team laughed, cried, and prayed with several of the nurses and staff members of the clinic. They did not know who had placed the marker until last Sunday but quickly associated LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Gideon (St. Michael’s - Bloomington, Minnesota) and the lawn signs with the heart.
When the team placed the marker that Sunday in February in -40°F weather, they wondered if it would stand the test of the elements. It did, and it continues to stand the test of time. God has used it far beyond our intent, and now the little memorial is the first thing visitors pass as they enter a field of sunshine and hope.
St. Michael’s ministry team received this message via social media:
"Thank you for doing what you do. Placing the cross at our clinic allowed us a place to mourn and reflect on what Lindsay meant to each of us. This cross has given so many an important place on their journey to healing. Thank you for your compassion; we felt it."
Serving First Responders and Families after Collapse of Condominium Tower
12 People Confirmed Dead, 149+ People Still Unaccounted For
LCC sending 12 plus 149 Hearts of Mercy & Compassion and Markers to Miami – Pray we only need 12!
"May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant." Psalm 119:76
After the horrific partial collapse of the 12-story wing of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida, the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs were invited in by Rev. Dr. Gregory Walton, LCMS District President for the Florida-Georgia District, and Rev. Dennis Bartels, Pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in North Miami. Pastor Bartels has served this community for 35 years and is well connected to the community where we will be serving. Tim Hetzner, LCC President/CEO, and Bonnie Fear, LCC K-9 Crisis Response Coordinator, are working closely with Pastor Bartels to determine where the K-9 Ministry teams will visit.
LCC Hearts of Mercy & Compassion sent hearts and markers for the memorial site in Surfside, Florida. One will be placed for everyone who has not survived this horrific tragedy. Visitors to the memorial site can sign and leave condolence messages. The K-9 Ministry teams will be present to share love and compassion to help everyone who stops by process the grief they are experiencing.
LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Hope (Faith – Marietta, Georgia), Jewel (Christ Our Savior – Loudon, Tennessee), Lizzie (Trinity – Savannah, Georgia), Mary (St. Paul – Janesville, Wisconsin), Peace (Trinity – Orlando, Florida), Seth (Eternal Shepherd – Seneca, South Carolina) and Zoara (Island Lutheran – Hilton Head, South Carolina), along with their ministry teams, will bring comfort and hope to all who are grieving.
The LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs will serve first responders and their families who are working around the clock doing search and rescue for the 149+ people who are still unaccounted for, as well as family members who have lost loved ones. First responders include emergency medical technicians (EMTs), paramedics, firefighters, police officers, city, state, and federal personnel. They are all working tirelessly with the destruction of the Champlain Towers. In addition, LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs will serve all in that area who are working selflessly.
Our LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Teams will be driving to and staying in Miami. Travel and accommodations in the area will be expensive. LCC's K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry and Hearts of Mercy & Compassion Ministry never charge those we serve as we bring the Mercy, Compassion, Presence and Proclamation of Jesus Christ to those suffering and in need.
Please prayerfully consider a donation to the LCC K-9 Travel and Hearts of Mercy & Compassion, Crosses for Losses Funds as we prepare to deploy to serve the first responders and this devastated community.
LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Cubby & Devorah, Hearts of Mercy & Compassion, Crosses for Losses Bring Comfort to the Arvada, Colorado, Hurting Community after the Tragic Death of Police Officer Beesley
On Tuesday, June 22, Police Officer Gordon Beesley, a 19-year veteran of the Arvada Police Department, Colorado, was killed during an eruption of gunfire in Olde Town Arvada. Office Beesley was spending his summer working patrols. He also worked as a school resource officer at Oberon Middle School and had previously been at Lincoln Academy and Excel Academy Charter School. The shooting also left John Hurley, acting as a good Samaritan, dead. Bonnie Fear, LCC K-9 Crisis Response Coordinator, with LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Cubby and Devorah (Redeemer – Fort Collins, Colorado), and their handlers responded immediately to bring comfort to the first responders and the community during the Tuesday night vigil at Peace Lutheran Church in Arvada.
On Wednesday, June 23, Cubby and Devorah Comfort Dogs and their team were at Olde Town Arvada, where the shooting took place, to spend time with those grieving and in shock. A new friend of Cubby and Devorah lives near where the shooting took place and was in need of some love and comfort.
The teams also visited the Memorial at Arvada City Hall honoring Arvada Police Department Officer Gordon Beesley and John Hurley. The Comfort Dogs and the team spent time visiting with people from the community.
These moving sentiments were chalked at the Memorial by Officer Beasley’s children and students from Oberon Middle School.
Redeemer, Fort Collins also placed two Hearts of Mercy & Compassion, Crosses for Losses, at the public memorial at the Arvada City Hall for Officer Gordon Beesley and John Hurley the day after the shooting for visitors to sign.
On Thursday, June 24, LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Cubby and Devorah, and their ministry teams, attended Officer Beesley’s Memorial Service to comfort those in attendance. The Hearts of Mercy & Compassion, Crosses for Losses, was displayed in remembrance of his dedicated service.
LCC’s K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry and Hearts of Mercy & Compassion Ministry never charges those we serve as we bring the Mercy, Compassion, Presence and Proclamation of Jesus Christ to those suffering and in need. Please keep the families, community, and the Arvada Police Department in your prayers.
April 15 - FedEx Shooting, Indianapolis, Indiana
Tim Hetzner, LCC President/CEO, and the LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry teams immediately responded after the horrific shooting that took place at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Friday, April 16, resulting in the loss of eight precious lives.
Watch the video below to see how LCC Ministries work together to bring comfort and healing to the community during this difficult time.
The LCC K-9 Ministry and Hearts of Mercy & Compassion, Crosses for Losses Ministry were invited by Pastor Dan Hauser of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, home of LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Naomi, to be present throughout the community with employees, residents, and first responders who are trying to cope with this senseless tragedy.
In the aftermath of the FedEx shootings in Indianapolis, eight LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Benjamin (LCC Staff), Emma (LCC Staff), Hannah (LCC Staff), Isaiah (Trinity - Hobart, Indiana), Jared (Holy Cross - Fort Wayne, Indiana), Mercy (Our Savior Lutheran Church and School - Louisville, Kentucky), Naomi (Holy Cross - Indianapolis, Indiana), and Rosie (Atonement - Columbus, Ohio) and their teams arrived, bringing the love of Jesus to all that they met. At two vigils honoring the victims, the pain and fear were evident. The Comfort Dogs gave people a way to release those emotions, if only for a few minutes. The Hearts of Mercy & Compassion (HMC) gave them a place to express their sympathies.
These two ministries worked hand in hand to start the healing process for a grieving community. In addition to the vigils, the dogs visited multiple fire stations that had responded that night and the Marion County 911 Call Center. Some of these first responders just needed to talk about that night, and the dogs were excellent listeners, as were their handlers. Other visits included the Marion County Coroner’s Office (day and night shifts) and Eskenazi Hospital, where the dogs were a much-welcomed comfort due to the devastating week they all had.
One of the 19-year-old victims had worked as a lifeguard at the Indy Island Aquatic Center, in addition to her FedEx job. Many of the employees at the center were high school age or recent graduates. The dogs arrived there with mini stuffed dogs and an HMC heart. The young employees came into the room with heavy hearts. The dogs were present for each of them and helped them open up to talk among themselves or to a handler about their friend or sit quietly with a dog and mourn.
The LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry teams saw the healing process begin for many of the hurting as they broke down barriers to allow for the release of some of their pain, wherever they were. Christ was most certainly present during all of these encounters.
From all the hurt and shock of this tragedy at the FedEx facility, relationships have been made. LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Naomi (Holy Cross - Indianapolis, Indiana) and her team will continue to make regular visits to the Marion County coroner’s office, 911 Call Center, and the Decatur Fire Departments. Many other places the Comfort Dogs visited expressed that they would love to have at least a monthly visit with Naomi and her team
April 18 - The Sommers House Shooting, Kenosha, Wisconsin
Early Sunday morning, April 18, three people were killed, and three were injured during a shooting at The Somers House in Kenosha, Wisconsin. At the invitation of Rev. Kara Baylor of Carthage College, Tim Hetzner, LCC President/CEO, and the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs were present with students and staff on Tuesday, April 20, and Wednesday, April 21, during finals week. Carthage College is located near The Somers House and frequented by students, some of whom were present during the shooting.
LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Charity (Brookfield Lutheran – Brookfield, Wisconsin), Malachi (St. Matthew – Hawthorn Woods, Illinois), Mary (St. Paul’s – Janesville, Wisconsin), Rhoda (Prince of Peace – Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin), Tobias (Lord of Glory – Grayslake, Illinois), and their ministry teams spent time comforting students and staff during this stressful week.
The LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs and their handlers provided a gentle ear to listen to the students share their fears about the shooting and how the pandemic has emotionally affected their learning and motivation. The K-9 Ministry teams also met some of the baseball players whose teammates were at the bar during the incident. Many students welcomed the opportunity to pet the Comfort Dogs and talk.
The students and staff of Carthage also signed three Hearts of Mercy & Compassion for each of the victims who lost their lives in the shooting. The LCC Ministries were honored to serve the Carthage students and staff during this difficult time.
March 22 - King Soopers Store Shooting, Boulder, Colorado
Since the mass shooting at King Soopers in Boulder, Colorado, on March 22, LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Cubby and Devorah (Redeemer - Fort Collins, Colorado) continue to be present for the community sharing the Mercy, Compassion, Presence and Proclamation of Jesus Christ to those suffering and in need.
Cubby and Devorah and their team have been invited back every month to visit the Boulder County Coroner's Office, Boulder 911 Dispatch/Police Department, and Boulder Rural Fire Protection Services.
“We are very pleased to have made these connections in the Boulder Community. We also plan to visit the King Soopers employees that we met at a neighboring store where we presented two Hearts of Mercy & Compassion to two special employees and drop in at some of the local fire departments that we visited while deployed. We want to continue to show our love and support to this community for a long time."
LCC's K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry and Hearts of Mercy & Compassion Ministry never go where we are not invited and never charge those we serve as we bring the Mercy, Compassion, Presence and Proclamation of Jesus Christ to those suffering and in need.