LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs that were in Parkland, Florida during the second week include:
LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Abner (Bethany – Austin, Texas)
LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Addie (Immanuel – Danbury, Connecticut)
LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Cubby (Redeemer – Fort Collins, Colorado)
LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Gabriel (Messiah – Houston, Texas)
LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Jacob (LCC Staff)
LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Job (Christ the King – Memphis, Tennessee)
LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Katie (Trinity – Fremont, Nebraska)
LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Leah (Immanuel – Danbury, Connecticut)
LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Lizzie (Trinity – Savannah, Georgia)
LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Luke (Christ the Shepherd – Alpharetta, Georgia)
LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Lydia (Messiah – Lynfield, Massachusetts)
LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Sasha (Island Lutheran – Hilton Head, South Carolina)
Please join LCC in continuing to pray for the many individuals who have been impacted and all first responders who continue to serve and protect Parkland and its surrounding communities.
By day's end on Thursday, 6 of the 19 LCC K-9 Comfort Dog teams were on-site by the memorial that was building at Pine Trails Park which is less than a mile from the high school. Other K-9 teams continued to arrive through Sunday, including law enforcement handlers from the LCC K-9 Police Ministry. The park is a place to enjoy tennis, soccer, yoga, a playground, and has a recreation center and an amphitheater for activities. Since that tragic day, the recreation center is now a counseling and service center for victims of the shooting. The amphitheater and grassy field in front of it has become a solemn place to mourn, grieve, and pray.
Each day at Pine Trails Park, the number of people stopping by increased, and the students would return to visit the crosses and stars that marked the memory of their friends and family members. The LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs and their handlers did what they were trained to do – be present, listen, and pray. There is no comparison amongst tragedies. Nothing is the same and everyone has their own way of dealing with grief and loss. The LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry teams worked tirelessly in their mission to bring the mercy, compassion, presence, and proclamation of Jesus Christ to those who are suffering and in need. Students would tearfully share their stories of their friends and where they were that day. Parents often accompanied their children to the park to be close to them.
Within days of being in Parkland, the LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry teams received an invitation to work with the counselors of Broward County Schools. The Broward County School District is the sixth largest school district in the United States, with over 300 schools and approximately 300,000 students. The district had just finished their recovery from Hurricane Irma and had also assimilated thousands of children from Puerto Rico into the schools as a result of Hurricane Maria. It was an amazing accomplishment. The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School would present another challenge that no school district would ever want to face.
During the first week on-site, along with being at the park, the LCC K-9 Ministry teams were assigned to visit over 20 elementary and middle schools in the surrounding communities to be with children who were afraid to come to or be in school. The teams visited the children and then worked with counselors to help specific children who were still having difficulty understanding what happened. The teams also visited schools where family members had lost loved ones and a school where a first grader had died in a fire. The teachers and staff at each of the schools are doing their very best to help the children feel safe and loved.
Teachers from the high school were brought together the Friday immediately following the shooting. After that, they had met mostly at funerals and at Pine Trails Park. Last Friday, the teachers were welcomed into the school to be with each other and to start planning their return. The LCC K-9 Comfort Dog teams were invited to be there to support the faculty, staff, and first responders. It was a reassuring moment and a positive break as they stood, sat, and laid with the dogs.
The second deployment is under way this week, with 12 LCC K-9 Ministry teams that will serve Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when the students return on Wednesday, February 28.
The LCC K-9 Ministry thanks you for your continued prayers and support that helps us bring the mercy, compassion, presence and proclamation of Jesus Christ to the Parkland, Florida community. If you are so moved, please support us through donations to the K-9 Travel Expense Fund so that we can continue to serve this hurting community.
LCC Responds to Floods in Watseka & Milford, IL & K-9 Comfort Dogs Help High School Students Return in Parkland, FL
Tim Hetzner, LCC President / CEO, Rev. Don Love and Rev. Karl Gibbs Go Through Flood Waters to Do Well-Being Checks on Residents Still in Their Homes
“The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever.” – Psalm 29:10
LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Stay in Parkland, Florida to Help Students Returning to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
"God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'" - Hebrews 13:5
LCC Disaster Response in Watseka & Milford, Illinois Floods
On Saturday, February 24, 2018, Tim Hetzner, LCC President / CEO, Kathy O'Day, LCC Disaster Response Director, and LCC Disaster Response staff arrived in Watseka, Illinois to assess historic flood damage caused by heavy rains in areas hit the hardest. Rev. Don Love from Calvary Lutheran Church in Watseka and Rev. Karl Gibbs from Our Savior Lutheran Church in Milford contacted Lutheran Church Charities to assist residents affected by the floods with muck-out relief operations, financial assistance and gift cards.
Lutheran Church Charities is working in partnership with the CID (Central IL District of the LCMS) and Stephen Born their Disaster Response Coordinator. We are also working with Pastor Jordan Cooper at Faith Lutheran in Watseka, Illinois and we had assessed their church which was flooded as well as their parsonage.
On Monday, February 26, Kathy O’Day will return to Watseka to spend a week supporting the pastors of the three churches in this community: Rev. Don Love from Calvary Lutheran - Watseka, Rev. Karl Gibbs from Our Savior - Milford and Rev. Jordan Cooper from Faith Lutheran - Watseka. Working from Calvary Lutheran in Watseka, Kathy will also support the LCMS Central Illinois District Disaster Response Coordinator (DDRC), Stephen Born, in assessing residents with the greatest need and scheduling work orders. LCC Disaster Response brought the pump-out trailer and taught local volunteer teams how to use the pumps to assist their neighbors whose homes are flooded. LCC also provided an all-terrain vehicle to get into flooded areas to check on families and elderly stuck in their homes. Financial assistance has already been given to the pastors to help their members affected by the flood.
Lutheran Church Charities has previously assisted Watseka and its surrounding communities in 2008 from a record-breaking "100 year flood" and in 2015 with three floods in fewer than 6 months. This current flood has already surpassed the 2008 flood, setting a new historic flood record. LCC Disaster Response teams will once again bring physical and financial assistance, and the mercy, compassion, presence and proclamation of Jesus Christ to this suffering community. This is what we do and what we are going to continue to do.
Many people in the Watseka community that needed to evacuate their homes are still in a Red Cross shelter. The water has crested and is very slowly starting to go down. Residents still cannot access their homes but hope that roads will be passable by Monday. Below are just a few stories from Calvary Lutheran Church members:
Please prayerfully consider donating to help this community in crisis. You, together with the LCC staff and volunteers, are the hands and feet of Jesus as we touch lives with His mercy and compassion!
LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Help Students & Staff Return to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
For a second week, several new teams are being deployed to Florida; 11 LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs and 22 handlers will be present to help students overcome their fears and sadness as well as share the love and comfort that comes through Jesus Christ.
If you are so moved, please help the LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry with travel expenses so that we can continue to bring the mercy, compassion, presence and proclamation of Jesus Christ to this devastated community.
Please continue to pray for the LCC K-9 Comfort Dog teams, the many individuals who have been impacted and all first responders who continue to serve and protect the Parkland, Florida community.
Thank you for being a part of the Mercy and Compassion Ministry of Lutheran Church Charities.
Lutheran Church Charities
Emergency Appeal: LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Deploy to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School - Parkland, Florida in Response to Mass Shooting
On Wednesday, February 14 - Valentine's Day - another horrific mass shooting has occurred. As the school day was coming to an end at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, gunshots were heard resulting in approximately seventeen people killed, with many others either physically wounded or emotionally devastated. Since the start of 2018, in just seven weeks, there have already been eighteen shootings in U.S. schools, and many have resulted in injury or death. With this increase in frequency, communities are living with fear and anxiety wondering when the next one will occur.
The LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs have been invited by Rev. Stephen Carretto of St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church of Boca Raton, Florida, to bring comfort and compassion to students and their families, faculty, staff and first responders.
LCC never goes where we are not invited and LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs NEVER charge those we serve. We pick up all of our travel, hotel, and meal costs. We also always put Boots and Paws on the ground within 24 hours (often less) from the time we get the invite.
Please help LCC as we bring the Mercy, Compassion, Presence and Proclamation of Jesus Christ to those who are suffering and in need. We know that comfort is needed to help this devastated community and the first responders who serve them. Please support us by prayer and if you are moved, to help with travel expenses.