CF Check Presentation photo

Pictured at the Community Foundation check presentation for the K-9 officers are (from left) Luke Rudd, Marshall County Sheriff’s office, Zach Johnson, Marshall County Sheriff’s office, Josh Anderson, Marshall County Sheriff’s office, Barry Howell, Marshall County Sheriff’s office, Eddie McGuire, Marshall County sheriff, Sissy Wommack, Remax, Rita Dotson, Benton mayor, Rachel Yates, Marshall County Republican Women, Jason Darnall, county attorney, Stephanie Perlow, family court judge, Chief Stephen Sanderson, Benton police, Sargent Caleb Curtner, Benton police, State Representative Chris Freeland, Judy Goheen, Remax, Tiffany Griffith, county clerk, Justin Lamb, county commissioner, Kevin Spraggs, county commissioner, Monti Collins, county commissioner, Jennifer Fisk, Remax, Sally Moore, Remax, Detective Matt Hilbrecht, Marshall County Sheriff’s office and Tony Watkins, Chair of the West Kentucky Community Foundation.

Those involved in law enforcement place their lives on the line each and every day to keep the communities they serve safe and secure. The Marshall County community recently provided a way to keep its sheriff’s deputies safer and more secure, as well.

Last week, the Marshall County Community Foundation presented a $22,000 check to Marshall County Sheriff Eddie McGuire and his department for two new K-9 officers.

The funds were raised through two community events in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first was the Marshall to Marshall project in September that collected needed items from generators to tarps for people impacted by Hurricane Laura in Cameron, Louisiana, which has a main street in town called Marshall Street.

After the donations, some additional funds were offered to the parish’s sheriff’s office but they instead asked that the money go toward the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office.

The second was the Fox Trot virtual 5K/10K race last October dedicated to Fox, the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office K-9 officer.

According to Marshall County Community Foundation board chairman Keith Travis, the idea for the road race came to him and his wife after running in a COVID-compliant half-marathon in Hopkinsville. They both thought having something similar in Marshall County would work and the funds raised would go to getting additional K-9 officers for the sheriff’s office.

Fox, Travis added, is currently 12 years old and will be retiring after serving the past four years.

But the race plan encountered a few bumps.

“It was scheduled around Halloween and we were going to do it at South Marshall Middle School,” Travis explained. “Two weeks before, the state advised that with everything going on (with the pandemic), they would not give a permit to close a portion of road.”

Working with the school district, it was then moved to the high school’s cross country course. But the Thursday before the race was to be held, the county went from a yellow COVID zone into the red and shut down in-person activities.

Some quick thinking adjusted the plans to create a virtual race with participants running their 5K individually and posting their times with organizers. Those times were eventually sorted to determine winners. Along with the entry fees and other funds raised, Travis said several donations were made from local individuals, groups and businesses, as well.

“It was the most difficult race I’ve ever had to work on, in terms of logistics and shirts and medals and registration it was the hardest one from that standpoint,” he added, “but the most productive financially I’ve ever seen for 175 runners to make $22,000.”

Travis said that Fox had been a positive factor in the schools, but now the county has School Resource Officers to address needs there. What the sheriff’s office could use, however, are K-9 officers to go with deputies on patrol to protect the life of the deputy.

Sheriff McGuire said on WCBL that it will be difficult to replace Fox.

“He’s still so good at 12 years old. Most dogs at 8 or 9 are retired from the police world,” the sheriff said on Coffee Call last Wednesday. “With him retiring out this year, we need someone to become a dog handler and get some dogs out on the street where we can start curbing some of this drug epidemic. We’re really especially thankful for the community raising this money for us.”

Virtual races and gathering donations for those in need are just two facets to the five-year-old Marshall County Community Foundation, which is a branch of the West Kentucky Community Foundation and Endow Kentucky. According to Travis, the program allows for a tax deduction as well as a 20% tax credit on the gift up to $10,000.

“We’re probably the only non-profit mechanism out there that gives you a 20% tax credit,” he said.

The Community Foundation also manages accounts for non-profits, such as church scholarship funds and endowments. “It’s not our money. The board does not decide how the money is spent,” Travis said. “Whoever the benefactor is, they’re the decision maker.”

Looking ahead, the Community Foundation will look to see where help is needed and that there may be another Fox Trot later this year to also help in the same spirit of its K-9 namesake but with a different charity in mind.

“Those kind of events, people come out and participate in if they know the money is going to a good cause and Fox was a cause that touched people’s hearts.”

For more information on the Marshall County Community Foundation, call 270-227-0253.