By Matt de Simone
Big Lick Crossfit in Daleville played host to “Kilos 4 K9s,” a weekend fundraiser supporting police canine training.
Botetourt County Deputy John Claterbaugh helped create the non-profit organization. He saw a similar organization formed in Richmond and then asked Sheriff Matt Ward if he would support a similar organization in Botetourt.
Claterbaugh explained the origins last Saturday. “I went into [Ward’s] office and asked, ‘[Friends of Botetourt K9s] is what I would like to [help organize]. I know it’s a lot of work, but I’m willing to take it on. The sheriff told me to get up to Richmond and learn more.”
After speaking with Sheriff Ward, Claterbaugh met with the Richmond organization’s president and asked what he needed to do to get the ball rolling. Months later, after a lot of hard work from the officers and community members involved, the organization’s now in the final stages of its startup process.
“I think it’s an awesome idea,” Claterbaugh continued. “It’s great for the community.”
Over 30 people attended the CrossFit event that contained one workout on the hour, every hour, for nine straight hours. Each exercise was named after members of Botetourt’s K9 unit.
“It’s amazing how much those dogs improve the safety of officers and citizens when involved,” former Botetourt County attorney Ronnie Clay said during a recent interview. Clay is a coach at Big Lick CrossFit and headed up the exercises during the event. His wife, Kimberly, is a member of the Friends of Botetourt K9s board of directors.
Later in the afternoon, Deputies Claterbaugh and Smusz held a demonstration featuring canines “Axin” and “Rico”—the demonstration’s two stars. Deputy Casella had the honor of wearing the bite suit. CrossFitters then watched Axin and Rico “apprehend” Casella. Claterbaugh mentioned that one of the organization’s goals is to raise money for a new bite suit.
The Friends of Botetourt K9s was created by officers to raise awareness of police canines and their accomplishments, foster community support for police dogs and officers, and assist in meeting the needs of retired and active duty police dogs in Botetourt County. Contributions go directly to helping the K9 unit in various ways, such as training, equipment, and more.
The organization will next participate in the Sunflower Festival on September 9-18 and National Night Out on October 2. To learn more about Friends of Botetourt K9s, visit https://fobk9.org/.