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Mt. Pleasant students donate to K-9 unit

Marilyn Forbes | for the Daily Courier
Mt. Pleasant Area High School National Honor Society members surprised Officer George Grippo with a donation for his canine partner, Gerro. From left are Mt. Pleasant Police Chief Steve Ober, Grippo, students Brooke Shumar and Luke Liprando and Principal Ken Williams.

Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, 6:20 p.m.
 

Gerro patrols the streets of Mt. Pleasant Borough with his partner Officer George Grippo. The pair have been together for three years.

Gerro's upkeep and lessons can be costly. But the Dutch shepherd canine now has a set of guardian angels who plan to see he receives a generous donation every year to be used toward his care.

Mt. Pleasant Area High School National Honor Society members recently made a donation to the pair from proceeds raised during their summer fundraiser.

“We partnered with the Student Council in the summer for a big golf outing,” NHS faculty adviser Kevin Svidron said, adding that part of the proceeds were also used for the Student Council-sponsored Toys for Children event. “They (the students) were looking for something to do for the community and they decided that they wanted to donate money to the Mt. Pleasant K-9 Unit.”

The golf outing — a first for the two groups and held at the Norvelt Golf course — was deemed a huge success and hopes are to make it an annual event.

“We know that a lot of people like to do the golf outings, so we took our idea to Mr. Svidron and he said ‘OK, let's give it a try,'” NHS member Luke Liprando, 18, said. “It turned out really great. We had tee sponsors and received donations, and now we are hoping to make this a yearly thing.”

The students made a donation to Grippo, who said the funds will be used for Gerro's care and maintenance.

“I think that this is incredible,” Grippo said. “I didn't even know anything about this until they contacted me and told me. I think that it's just great that these students want to help with the program. I'm just really grateful and very appreciative that they thought of us.”

The students also donated some proceeds from the event to the Westmoreland County Food Bank.

“We all decided we wanted to do something for the community as a way to give back,” NHS member Brooke Shumar, 18, said. “We wanted to do something to help.”

The NHS students meet on a weekly basis to plan ways to stay involved with the community. They are in the process of planning a similar fundraiser for the summer.

“It is always encouraging when you see the selfless devotion of our students giving back to the community,” Mt. Pleasant Junior-Senior High principal Ken Williams said. “A donation of this type — funding for a service that ensures the safety and security of our entire community — is truly remarkable. Public servants such as fire, EMS and police are often held in a higher regard, yet they do not often benefit from the monetary resources necessary to provide their public safety service to protect us. I commend our students for going above and beyond to help make this possible for Mt. Pleasant Borough.”

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.

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