Volunteer K9 team needs your help to win nationwide contest

K9 Competition

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - The Manatee County Search and Rescue Team is asking for your help.

The team of more than 30 volunteer first responders looks for missing people when they get the call from local law enforcement. The team averages one call a week and have found five people within three months.

“We don’t have any taxpayer money for our organization, we operate solely off of donation," says Deputy Chief John Elwood.

Elwood says mostly everything, including their 13 response vehicles in the team’s fleet, were all donated to them. But because of the high demand, Elwood along with K9 Karma have entered into a contest to win a brand new SUV.

He says this will make the team’s job a little easier.

“So Karma and I are one of 30 contestants in this national contest and Vested Interest for K9s is giving away a police package Tahoe. It’s a specially support vehicle to transport K9s,” Elwood explained.

Elwood and K9 Karma is the only pair from Florida in the contest and the only ones that aren’t law enforcement that happen to be volunteers.

“Over 90 percent of our membership are current or former public safety employees. My mom has dementia. Ninety percent of our calls are for people with some type of cognitive impairment. Every time we respond it could very well be my mother," says Elwood.

He says each team member is passionate about what they do and winning the contest will expand their services throughout the county.

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