Historic City News was on hand today when a bronze statue to commemorate and memorialize the hard work of the Sheriff’s K-9 officers and their handlers was dedicated at the Memorial Courtyard in front of the Sheriff’s Office in St. Augustine.
The German shepherd, named “Spirit”, as in the spirit of truth, honor and justice, proudly stands guard in front of the Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff David Shoar thanked those who participated in raising the funds for the statue and especially recognized a St. Johns County man who contributed the lion’s share of the cost.
Mr. Joe Montoro was presented an appreciation plaque for his generous contribution.
This is not the first time that Montoro has assisted the Sheriff’s Office with his generosity.
He was the donor of K-9 “Bravo”, the Sheriff’s Office first bomb detection dog.
When he learned that a committee was formed to raise funds for the K-9 recognition project, and, at the time, the committee had only raised 1/5th of the monies needed, he wrote a check for the additional funds in order to purchase the statue.
“Spirit” was delivered earlier this year and when Mr. Montoro observed the statue standing proud in front of the Sheriff’s Office he approached Sheriff Shoar with several other ideas that he offered to fund.
A granite slab, with room for 56 names that would recognize the entire Sheriff’s
Office K-9’s, their years of service, and their handler, was purchased.
The granite slab, containing the 15 names currently being honored was placed next to the statue at today’s ceremony.
The second is when a K-9 retires or is lost in the line-of-duty; the handler will receive an engraved marker to remember his partner.
Some of those were honored today and in the future will be awarded at a ceremony.
Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News staff photographer