During the months leading up to July 2014, LCC President and CEO Tim Hetzner realized that the LCC K-9 Ministry was seeing more and more veterans as they served God’s people. At the 2014 LCC National K-9 Ministry Conference, the LCC Kare 9 Military Ministry was launched with golden retriever puppies and veteran handlers recruited by Tim Hetzner. The purpose of the Kare 9 Military Ministry is to serve active military, veterans, and their families.
The first LCC Kare 9 Military Ministry Dogs were all named after a military dog who had lost its life in service to our country. The Kare 9 Dogs and their veteran handlers are:
Blitz with Bob Royce (U.S. Army, 1968-1970, Specialist 4th Class)
Brandy with Marvin Hanks (U.S. Navy, 1954-1974, Petty Officer 2nd Class)
Britta with Dale Sasse (U.S. Army, 1970-1972, Specialist 5th Class)
Butch with Keith Stanton (U.S. Air Force, 1965-1969, Staff Sergeant)
Brutus with Gene Weisbecker (U.S. Navy, 1956-1958, Seaman)
Flex with Fred Vanstrom (U.S. Army, 1970-1972, Specialist 4th Class)
Spike with Raleigh Showens (U.S. Army, 1966-1968, Specialist 5th Class)
From these first Kare 9 Dogs, the LCC Kare 9 Military Ministry has grown to approximately seventy Kare 9s and their veteran handlers by 2021. All work through the LCC K-9 Ministries in churches to serve in communities around the nation.
Probably the most memorable event many of the Kare 9s have served is Camp Hometown Heroes. This summer camp is established to serve the children and siblings of men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice while serving our nation. Dave Enters from Concordia University Wisconsin was instrumental in connecting us with Camp Hometown Heroes. Since our first visit in July 2015, 165 LCC Kare 9 Military Ministry veteran handlers and 128 Kare 9s have offered mercy, compassion, and the presence of Jesus Christ to those children who have suffered such a great loss. Our veteran handlers look forward to this special visit each year.
Other events such as Yellow Ribbon events, Military Stand Downs, National Guard and Reserve Family Days, VA Hospital visits, and many others have created countless special memories for those who served.
The LCC Kare 9 Military Ministry thanks all of our active and veteran handlers for their dedication and compassionate ministry to those who have given so much, and for their service to our great nation!