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K-9 Memorial Grove dedicated on Saturday

May 30, 2018
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

On Satuday, nine K-9 units showed up at Fair Park in Canfield to honor the late K-9 Thor and to dedicate Canfield K-9 Memorial Grove, a section at Fair Park that is set aside to honor Canfield's K-9s.

The motion establishing the memorial grove was approved by Canfield City Council at the May 16 meeting. Along with that motion was the planting of a tree in honor of Thor.

The ceremony helped wrap up a month of remembering fallen officers. May 15 had been set aside back in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy as a day to remember fallen officers across the nation.

Article Photos

Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Warren Police Officer and bagpiper Brian Crites plays Amazing Grace as Officer Chad DeBarr, his partner Rocky and eight other K-9 officers and partners salute the memory of K-9 Thor.

"It's not what they do, but who they are," said Mayor Richard Duffett.

He said they are the ones willing to put their lives on the line and run towards trouble. He said there are presently 900,000 police officers in the United States, and roughly 151 lose their life in the line of duty each year.

After the presentation of a proclamation declaring May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day in Canfield, Police Chief Chuck Colucci said, "In the 22 years I have been here, that was special."

The May 26 ceremony at Fair Park extended those honors for the K-9 officers, who also wear the badge and protect the citizens. It was a time to remember K-9 Thor, who was laid to rest over a month ago. Handler/partner Chad DeBarr spread Thor's ashes over the tree planting in his honor at the new Canfield K-9 Memorial Grove at the park. Thor will join the memory of K-9 Zack, who was honored with a tree in 2010.

Canfield's first K-9 was Arno who served from 1996 to 2004. Zach served from 2004 to 2010, and Thor took over from 2010 to 2017. This year, DeBarr is working with his new partner Rocky, who attended the ceremony along with K-9 units from Springfield, Boardman, Beaver, Youngstown, East Palestine, Mahoning County, Poland, and St. Clair.

While there were some tender moments during the ceremony, there were some tales that brought smiles to many. Chief Colucci told the story of how Thor came to be named. He said DeBarr went to train with a K-9 named Chewie, but he didn't like the name. The two (human and dog) eventually became close partners and DeBarr made sure that Chewie's name was changed to Thor.

After the service, those in attendance were able to visit the trees and plaques for Thor and Zach.



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