This Friday, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Squeaky Clean Express Wash will host a dunking booth fundraiser, giving the public a chance to soak local law enforcement officers, including Sheriff Tom McCool — all for a good cause.
“We’re trying to raise money for the sheriff’s department for a new dog,” said Ricky Harmon, who co-owns the car wash with Doug Lang.
“I think it’ll be a good comical fun thing in helping the sheriff’s department, which is helping everybody if they can get their goals back with the dogs,” he said.
Harmon said he and Lang, who are both animal advocates, decided to organize the fundraiser after learning of HCSO’s need for a third K-9. He said the two always try to respond whenever there is a need just like they did when the tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma, a few years ago.
“Four or five years ago when the tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma, the news spread and we wound up carrying pet supplies up there to that and a big donation,” said Harmon.
They teamed up with the Humane Society of Harrison County’s The Pet Place, at the time, and took a 32-foot trailer of dog supplies to the Oklahoma City Animal Resource Center.
“So we have a heart for pets,” Harmon said, sharing he has about a dozen of his own and they also often take in strays from their business and provide them with a loving home.
Thus, when Deputy Dwight Mays with the sheriff’s office informed him of the department’s mission to get another K-9, Harmon knew they had to help.
“About three weeks ago, I was doing some work on one of his cars and he mentioned that: ‘Hey, we’re doing good; we’ve got a dog.’
“They had gotten down to no dogs in the sheriff’s department where they didn’t have no K-9s or anything,” Harmon recounted. “He goes three or four business here in town put the money up to buy a dog, over $10,000 … they wanted to stay anonymous… just helping out. I said: ‘Dwight, we can do the same thing. Let’s get us a fundraiser.’”
Harmon said one thing led to another, and the dunking booth fundraiser was set for this Saturday at his car wash business.
“Chili’s (restaurant) is letting us use their back parking lot; so that’s a plus,” he said.
“(Sheriff) Tom (McCool) has volunteered to get in the dunking booth. (Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace) Nancy George has volunteered; Sgt. Terrence Helton with the DPS has volunteered. So we’re getting a good (selection) of people in there to do this. We’ll have deputies there as well,” said Harmon.
During the event, attendees can donate any amount of money for dunking balls.
“There’s really not some set price,” said Harmon. “If some kid walks up and says: ‘Hey, I got a dollar, we’re going to give him five balls. And if somebody says how much to dunk the sheriff, I’ll say: ‘Well what’s it worth to you? And what’s it worth to you to dunk Terrence Helton with the DPS?’
“So, we’re just trying to have fun and raise money for a good cause,” he said.
Besides the dunking booth, Sheriff McCool will also cook hotdogs for the occasion. Organizers will also accept donations on behalf of the sheriff’s department.
“They need a dog a shift is what they need,” said Harmon.
Harmon said both the first and second dogs were funded through private donations.
“That’s two, so if we can do this one this will be three,” he said.
“This is the first time we’ve done something like this over there,” he said.
Harmon said he hopes the fundraiser is successful and leads to maybe more benefits that may aid in some other cause down the road. He encourages the public to come out to the car wash on Friday to support the cause.
“Just come get a hot dog; come visit; come help,” he said. “If you just want to come by and make a donation, if you want to come by and throw some balls, whatever — come.”
He said one never knows if they’ll need the help of a K-9 one day.
“Can you see like if your next door neighbor’s kid went missing and they had a dog that could track? This dog maybe able to track (that person), so we need that,” said Harmon. “You and I may need this dog one day.”
Thus, “step up and pitch in and help out and be part of this,” he encouraged. “If it’s a dollar or a hundred dollars or whatever, just bring your kids and let them throw some balls and donate some money and help be a part of this.”
Harmon said the dog, plus training is about $10,000.
“I would be ecstatic if we could do this in one day,” he said.
The car wash is at 1405 United Flight 93. The Pet Place will also be on the scene, offering freebies. Kaye Hill, executive director, said the nonprofit no-kill shelter believes in the cause, too.
“The Pet Place will take T-shirts up there to donate. I’ve got some Frisbees we’re going to give away,” she said. “It’s a community effort to raise this money.”
Hill said she’s learned recently of the significant role the K-9s play in law enforcement, particularly when it comes to cracking down on the drug activity in Marshall.
“So I think these dogs will be a good safety (tool),” she said. “I’m going to do all I can to try to help them raise money.”
Sharing just how vital the dogs are, Sheriff McCool told the Harrison County Commissioners Court on Wednesday that their new K-9 had been utilized on three occasions just within the last couple of weeks, so far.
McCool said the dog assisted in the major narcotics bust on Cook Street in the Marshall city limits last week and also assisted in finding a suicidal person within a few minutes. The dog also caught a wanted suspect who ran out of the backdoor of a home to avoid arrest.
“The dog found that individual in about three minutes,” McCool said. “We’re extremely proud of him.”