LCC K-9 and Hearts of Mercy & Compassion, Crosses for Losses Ministry Teams Continue to Serve the Community
For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. Isaiah 49:13
At 4:39 pm on Sunday, November 21, the Waukesha Christmas parade route was packed with families and children of all ages who were present for the festive occasion when a fleeing vehicle drove recklessly into the route. Six people have been killed – four female adults and one male adult with ages ranging from 52 – 81, and one 8-year-old boy who passed away on Tuesday. Six children are critical and approximately 62 other victims with injuries ranging from critical, serious, and fair conditions. Eighteen patients between the ages of 3 to 16 were taken to Children’s Wisconsin Hospital, including three sets of siblings.
In less than 24 hours, LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs were invited by Pastor Peter Schmidt from Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Waukesha and were present at the Waukesha Candlelight Vigil that night.
Tim Hetzner, LCC President/CEO deployed with LCC K-9 Ministry teams and brought hearts/crosses through our Hearts of Mercy & Compassion (HMC), Crosses for Losses Ministry to help people who are shocked and trying to process this horrific event.
LCC K-9 and HMC Ministry teams served with open hearts to listen to the hurting, bringing them hope, comfort, and prayer. The hearts/crosses are placed at the Veterans Park memorial site for people to sign and leave condolence messages, pray, and pay their respects to the five lives lost so far. Additional hearts/crosses were left with Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church.
Monday night the community of Waukesha came out to support each other after Sunday’s devastating tragedy. Attendees shared their grief, honored the victims, sought comfort, and found hope. A simple touch of the hand placed on the soft warm fur of one of the Comfort Dogs, hugging tightly one of the plush LCC K-9 Comfort Dog stuffies, prayers from the handlers or the opportunity to write their messages to the families on the LCC Hearts of Mercy and Compassion for each of the victims helped them process their grief.
LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Candace (LCC Staff), Charity (Brookfield Lutheran – Brookfield, Wisconsin), Mary (St. Paul – Janesville, Wisconsin), Rhoda (Prince of Peace – Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin), Tobias (Lord of Glory – Grayslake, Illinois), and Zoey (Concordia University Wisconsin – Mequon, Wisconsin), along with their ministry teams were present at the vigil to help bring comfort and hope to all who are grieving.
LCC K-9 Ministry teams have already been invited to visit the following:
Pewaukee School District: LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Charity and Rhoda and their teams visited teachers and staff on Monday, November 22, in preparation for the students to return to class on Tuesday.
Waukesha Emergency Service Group: LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs invited to the Friends & Family Resource Center at Carroll University Campus Center this week to be a calming presence for anyone who is in need of counsel or help.
Hales Corner Lutheran Church: LCC K-9 Comfort Dog attended prayer service on Tuesday, November 23, to comfort those who are grieving.
Beautiful Savior Lutheran School: LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs will visit each classroom to comfort students and staff on Monday, November 29.
Waukesha Police Department & Dispatch: On Monday, November 29, the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs will visit night shift officers, dispatch, and support staff that responded to the parade tragedy to thank them for their service and comfort them as they continue to process what they experienced that night.
Through these tragic times, we hold on to each other and God’s love and presence. LCC K-9 Ministry teams will continue to serve in Waukesha and the surrounding community as invited wherever they are needed.
The LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry and Hearts of Mercy & Compassions Ministry never charges those we serve as we bring the Mercy, Compassion, Presence and Proclamation of Jesus Christ to those suffering and in need. We know that comfort is needed to help this shocked and devastated community and the first responders who serve them.
LCC Hearts of Mercy & Compassion, Crosses for Losses Ministry Welcomes Suburban Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne, Indiana to the Ministry
Pastor Alex Duff's and Suburban Bethlehem’s, Fort Wayne, Indiana, vision to be an outreach ministry around the community is electric! The team of builders and painters have completed their first run of Hearts and Crosses and are excited to serve those who are suffering and in need.
Partnering in ministry with nearby Holy Cross Lutheran Church, home of LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Jared, both churches will provide the love and hope of Jesus through presence and prayer along with these physical and spiritual symbols.
Thank you, Suburban Bethlehem, for your passion to partner in this meaningful and growing ministry and for a job well done on your first production run, which united many church volunteers and put their woodworking, painting, and assembly skills to use.
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.