LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Share Comfort with the Mifflintown Community After Two State Troopers Shot, One Fatally
LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry received an emergency site visit request from Anne Supplee, Secretary with DeLauter Youth Center Board in Mifflintown, Pennsylvania. Anne was a teacher when the LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry responded to Sandy Hook. Now, Anne's community faced its own tragedy and she requested the LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry to walk alongside them during this difficult time.
Mifflintown, a very small rural community in Central Pennsylvania, witnessed a horrific event on June 17, in which one Pennsylvania State Trooper, Jacques Rougeau Jr., was killed. Lt. James Wagner was critically injured following a series of shootings, one of which was in front of the DeLauter Youth Center in Mifflintown.
The event on July 1 welcomed the entire community at the town park to recognize the service of their Pennsylvania State Police and the first responders while providing comfort to them and their families, as well as giving comfort and support to all of Mifflintown's children and adults who were affected by the shooting on June 17.
LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Amos (Our Savior's Way - Ashburn, Virginia) and Kezia (Emmanuel - Baltimore, Maryland) were invited to share the comfort, love, and compassion that comes from Jesus. During this event, some people wanted to talk about where they were and what they were doing when the calls came in to shelter in place. They spoke about how shaken and confused they were about the events unfolding in their tight-knit, and until then, very safe community. They liked coming together through this community comfort event where they could pray as a community for strength and healing.
LCC Hearts of Mercy & Compassion (HMC) with the thin blue line for law enforcement were brought by the LCC K-9 Comfort Dog teams. One HMC for Pennsylvania State Trooper Jacques Rougeau Jr., and one for Lt. James Wagner. The HMCs were filled with messages and prayers by the community and will be given to the Pennsylvania State Troopers.
LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Hannah's (LCC Staff) coloring book page was also included in an art station off to the side where children could be—another tool for the children to process their emotions and find comfort.
“I can’t begin to express my gratitude to all of you for what you do. Your organization is truly amazing! Again, thank you to all of you for everything you do!,” shared Anne Supplee
Corporal Troy Hendershot, Pennsylvania State Police, who could not attend, was supportive of this event. Dave Ray, Critical Incident Stress Management (licensed psychologist), was present. The town Emergency Medical Services (EMS) work 24-hour shifts and really appreciated knowing that we were there to help bring comfort to so many who are hurting.
"At one point, I sat with an older woman who has lived right next door to the park we were at since 1965. Her daughter was with her and said they were at their church for Saturday tea when her son called, warning her and grandma to get inside because there was a shooter in town. The older woman said it reminded her of the air raid drills she had to do as a young girl during WWI. As we talked, I noticed their strength and the joy in their eyes. They had a peace that only comes from their faith in God.” Jodi, handler for LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Amos
After the event, LCC K-9 Ministry teams visited Troop G Virginia State Police, where Trooper Rougeau was assigned. The teams arrived at shift change and were able to greet and offer thanks to the departing and arriving officers. This is a small Troop of 3-4 troopers serving 8-hour shifts. They shared what Trooper Rougeau was like; a humble and very productive officer who made a difference in the community through sheer focus and determination.
The K-9 Ministry teams went to Harshbarger's Sub and Malt restaurant for dinner and brought the HMC for the staff to sign. People were barricaded inside the restaurant behind overturned tables while state troopers lined up to protect them from the shooting outside.
The team walked down to the memorial that Mr. David Gray had built on his property where Trooper Rougeau was killed. When he saw LCC K-9 Comfort Dog teams there, he drove over to talk to them and shared with them his plans to replace it with a permanent granite memorial. He shared that the shootout sounded more chaotic than anything he had experienced in Vietnam. He was so grateful for the troopers' actions in saving his life that he has been bringing them food regularly.
"It especially struck me tonight how tragic this event was to this quiet sleepy village. I was reminded of the verse where God says, ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ He is there, present in the lives of the Mifflintown residents. The LCC K-9 Comfort Dog teams of Amos and Kezia are thankful they could be part of the healing process." Ric, handler for LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Kezia
LCC K-9 Ministry is thankful for Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, from State College, Pennsylvania, who traveled to Mifflintown to share in God's healing. We keep the Pennsylvania State Troopers, their families, and the Mifflintown community in our prayers as they continue to heal.