WESTERVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) – Westerville City Council voted to retire Officer Eric Joering’s K9 partner, Sam, from his police duties on Tuesday.
Sam will spend the rest of his days with the family of the fallen officer, bringing them comfort after the loss of their father and husband, who was killed in the line of duty earlier this month.
But besides getting to take Sam home, Otterbein University also had something to give the Joering family.
“As a community, Otterbein University would like to recognize Eric’s heroism and courage by offering support that we hope will provide some long-term security and support for your family,” said Chief of Staff Kristy Robbins.
In yet another example of being #WestervilleStrong, Otterbein University announced it will provide free tuition to the Joering girls.
“We hope this commitment of Otterbein support dedicated to your daughter’s pursuit of a college degree will provide some reassurance for you in the years ahead as they prepare to pursue their life’s ambitions,” Robbins said.
Otterbein Police Chief Larry Banaszak then spoke directly to the Joering family, explaining how their dad had helped train the university’s new police department.
“He’s our hero and I want you all to know that, again, from the bottom of hearts, our thoughts and prayers with you,” he said.
Soon after, K9 Sam was brought into the city council chambers. Without any hesitation, the motion quickly passed. Sam was then handed off to one of the Joering girls, who walked him out of city hall.
“We understood that this would be an opportunity to help with the healing process for the Joering family to enable Sam to be able to return to them for their companionship,” said City Manager David Collinsworth.
Storm Dog Tactical is collecting donations for Sam. Gift cards to PetPeople and PetSmart are appreciated.
Donations for Sam can be sent to:
Storm Dog Tactical
Att: K9 Sam
P.O. Box 1046
Sunbury, OH 43074-1046