The event will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 2306 Wake Robin Drive, West Lafayette.

"> Harrison student puts on fundraiser to purchase vest for Purdue police dog

Harrison student puts on fundraiser to purchase vest for Purdue police dog

October 8, 2009 Natalie Palmer
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Kaylee Johnson, a junior at William Henry Harrison High School, is putting on a yard sale fundraiser Saturday (Oct. 10) to help protect Purdue's police dog.

The event will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 2306 Wake Robin Drive, West Lafayette.

Upon learning that the Purdue police department's K-9 Nicky did not have a bulletproof vest, Kaylee decided to raise money to buy him one. The vest will cost roughly $2,500.

Kaylee had the chance to meet Nicky after proposing her fundraising idea to the force.

"He's so adorable," Kaylee said. "He's very sweet, and I can tell he's really playful.

"When I first met him, I was sitting in a chair and he came right up to me and put his paws on my lap. It seemed like he knew I was trying to help him."

Her mother, Tammy, says that Kaylee has been dedicated to this cause and has hung more than 500 signs in her neighborhood to raise awareness for the yard sale.

"Unless she has to go to work, she is there for everything," Tammy said. "She's there for the collection, helps people bring in donations, and she priced (merchandise) all day Saturday and Sunday."

But she isn't stopping there.

Kaylee also has been asking community merchants to put collection jars on their counters and is planning to collect donations at other venues in the future in order to meet her goal.

Kaylee said she has learned that organizing an event like this is a big responsibility, but she said her family, friends and people in her community have stepped up to support her.

"It's great to see how many people in the community are willing to help out," Kaylee said. "I've already gotten donations from a lot of different people, and the main event hasn't even come yet.

"It's cool to see how people may not see how Nicky protects them, but they're still willing to help protect him."

Purdue's police department is grateful for Kaylee's initiative.

"Nicky provides an important service to the department and the community, and it's gratifying to see this outpouring of support," said police Chief John Cox.

Tammy is proud of her daughter and hopes that serving others will continue to be a way of life for Kaylee.

"I don't want my kids to think it's a big deal to reach out and help people," Tammy said. "I think it's something you should do as a part of everyday life."

Nicky is a Dutch shepherd trained in narcotics detection, searching, tracking and apprehension of fleeing suspects. He has been a part of the force for more than a year.

Those wishing to make donations can call Tammy Johnson at 765-497-9680.

Writer:     Natalie Palmer, 317-828-5550, ncfox@purdue.edu

Sources:   Tammy Johnson, 765-494-5940, tammyj@purdue.edu

                  John Cox, 765-494-8221, jkcox@purdue.edu