It’s rewarding to see people rally around a cause and make things happen.
That’s what happened in Mannington starting in the fall of 2020 when a group of residents started a program they called BAD, Bark Against Drugs.
Robin Smith and other Mannington residents created a GoFundMe account to raise money to purchase a K9 police officer for the city. Smith, serving as co-chair of the committee, hoped to raise $20,000 to buy a trained police dog.
“Mannington is not unlike any other small town in West Virginia,” Smith said. “We have problems with opioids and prescription drugs. We know there are pockets of drug activity. There are houses that have been identified in the City of Mannington where drugs are being trafficked.”
And, months later, on March 15, Smith and BAD co-chair Lora Michaels, introduced K9 Officer Valor — a Belgian Malinois — to city officials and transferred the dog’s ownership to the City of Mannington Police Department.
We applaud Smith and Michaels for their vision and their tenacity to tackle such an issue amid such a chaotic time as the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s actions such as these that rekindle our faith in the uniqueness of the American spirit.
We all deserve to live in safe neighborhoods and BAD set out to provide Mannington residents with an extra layer of peace of mind.
Their hard work also proved to be quite an internet sensation as well.
As we reported Wednesday, “The addition of a police dog was a popular idea among Mannington residents, with most of the money coming from individual donations, even some former-Manningtonians mailed in donations from out of state.”
“We received checks from as far as Georgia and Texas,” said Michaels. “A 94-year-old woman, who lived here way back when, called us and said, ‘I need an address to send this check.’”
This is what a community looks like. We all want to fight the good fight and we all want to be a part of something larger than us.
Mannington Mayor Ray Shadrick said he was pleased with how well the entire process went.
But, the good stuff doesn’t end with the GoFundMe event.
Members of the Mannington business community have stepped forward to help pay for the ongoing care and feeding of Officer Valor.
“Local businesses also stepped up to help with the care of Valor. A local flower shop, Mountaineer Florist, offered to purchase a bag of dog food every month. Pet Central, a local veterinarian, has offered their services to Valor free of charge,” wrote Times West Virginian reporter David Kirk.
And so it is. This is what make a community, a community.
Keep up the good work, Mannington.