CHARDON, Ohio — It's been four months since former Geauga County Sheriff Dan McClelland and his beloved K-9 Midge died within hours of each other.
The two worked side by side, and were inseparable for 16 years. An outpouring of support from the community and McClelland's family are ensuring both are never forgotten.
Beverly McClelland, Sheriff Dan McClelland’s wife, asked for community members to send donations to the sheriff’s office in lieu of flowers for her husband. They now have enough money to purchase two K-9s for the office.
“Anyone that knew Dan knew that his passion was for the community, and was for serving others,” said Beverly McClelland.
Dan McClelland and Midge, a rat terrier chihuahua, died within two hours of each other back in April.
“He loved Midge, he and Midge went everywhere. Midge had priority over me at times with seating in a car,” said current Geauga County Sheriff Scott A. Hildenbrand.
Now, both of their legacies also live on with Beverly.
“We’re taking one day at a time and managing without him, although he's missed desperately,” said Beverly McClelland.
She said these last four months have been a struggle, but she and her family found ways to cope.
“We have had an outpouring from the community and from friends that have helped uplift our hearts,” said Beverly McClelland.
They’re sharing that love with those Dan McClelland served alongside.
“The K-9 unit was an intricate part of his soul. So when he passed, we thought about it as a family and said, 'you know, something that he would have loved would have been to leave a lasting legacy in the form of a dog,'” said Beverly McClelland.
Since the McClellands made their request for donations, the money has been rolling in. All of it will be going towards growing the department Dan McClelland was so passionate about.
“We have $15,500 approximate dollars for the K-9 right now. And we have another $7,800 that's been donated in the form of training,” said Beverly McClelland.
Hildenbrand said the department currently has four K-9’s, and the money will be used to replace one of those dogs when the time comes.
“Now, there won't be any delay because we've got the money. We're going to be able to do it, we've got the commitment on that, on the training. So as soon as we're ready we're going to be able to immediately go through that,” said Hildenbrand.
Donations came both to the office and to the McClellands personally. A few weeks ago, Beverly McClelland presented the portion of the money she received as well as a certificate for the cost of training a new K-9 to Hildenbrand. Those services were offered by Paul Shaughnessy, the president of Excel K-9 Services, Inc.
“I feel humbled, grateful and proud. So, just a huge thank you to everyone,” said McClelland.
Anyone interested in contributing to the Geauga County Sheriff’s Office K-9 program can send them via mail to 12450 Merritt Rd, Chardon, OH 44024.
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