LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Finish Second Week in El Paso, Texas to bring Comfort and Love to Individuals After Mass Shootings
Following invites to respond to a mass shooting that took place on August 3 in El Paso, Texas, Lutheran Church Charities deployed teams from August 5 through August 16. LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry teams continued to bring comfort last week to devastated individuals, families, and the first responders who serve their community.
On Saturday, August 3, a large crowd of back-to-school shoppers at Walmart in El Paso, Texas, were suddenly running for their lives when a young male began shooting throughout the store. The number who have died as a result of the shooting has increased to 22 individuals. Over 26 wounded, with victims ranging from 4 months to 82 years old.
Lutheran Church Charities worked in El Paso through Rev. Roger Schlechte, Rocky Mountain District President, Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS), Rev. Dr. Karl Heimer, Pastor & CEO of Ysleta Lutheran Mission Human Care and Pastor Stephen Heimer from Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church both in the heart of El Paso, Texas. Rev. Martin Danner from Bethany Lutheran Church in Austin, Texas, continued his support of our teams. K-9 Ministry teams were on the ground throughout the community serving with the love of Christ.
Janice Marut, Regional Director for the LCC K-9 Ministry Southwest Region led the second deployment efforts. Before the end of the first week, it became apparent that the work of the comfort dogs was not done. Requests for visits from individuals as well as facilities were coming in and a second team was deployed. Six LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs and sixteen LCC K-9 Ministry Team Members, that included Pastor Stephen Heimer of Zion Lutheran in El Paso were present.
Arriving on Sunday, August 11 for the second week of deployment, the teams started with their first visit, a vigil on Sunday night. The teams immediately experienced the warmth and appreciation of the El Paso people as over and over again, they received thanks and hugs for coming to help.
Throughout the week, visiting with first responders in the court houses, coroner's office and police departments, we listened to their stories and had the opportunities to thank them for their selfless work and commitment to the citizens throughout the communities.
We were able to provide the K-9s for visits with Walmart store employees as well as nearby stores which were on lock down due to the incident. We spent time with people who were at the Walmart that day and because of the swift actions of others, were spared. We visited schools where there had been loss of life. Counselors, teachers, and students visibly relaxed when they spent time with the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs and their handlers.
During our second week, the following LCC K-9 Ministry teams served in El Paso, Texas: Cubby (Redeemer – Fort Collins, Colorado), Eddie (Peace Lutheran – Grand Island, Nebraska), Elijah (Our Redeemer – Wichita Falls, Texas), Joanna (Christ Lincoln – Lincoln, Nebraska), Nicodemus (The Rock – Seward, Nebraska), Rosie (Atonement – Columbus, Ohio) and Triton (Messiah – Plano, Texas).
LCC never goes where we are not invited and the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs NEVER charge those we serve. We pick up all of our travel, hotel, and meals costs. We always put boots and paws on the ground within 24 hours (often fewer) 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. Together, we can be the Hands, Feet and Presence of Jesus Christ to frightened communities.
Please support us by prayer and if you are so moved, help us with travel expenses.