SEBRING -The Highlands County Sheriff's Office has added a new member to the K-9 unit, and the Highlands County Sheriff's Office thanked American Legion Post 74 in Sebring for making it possible.
Bud is an 11-week-old bloodhound, who will replace Sarge who was recently retired.
"Bud and Sarge are of the same bloodline, having the same father, so expectations are high for this new puppy," said a news release.
Deputy Wayne Gunn, Sarge's former partner, has been assigned to Bud and will work with him through the training process and be his full-time partner.
Commander Wayne Arnado, first Vice-Commander Jo Adamson, Sergeant-at-Arms Joe Costello and Chaplain Calvin Workman, representing American Legion Post 74, and Commander Randy Sallis of the Sons of the American Legion Post 74 met with Sheriff Susan Benton, Gunn and Bud at the Highlands County Sheriff's Office Friday morning to make it official.
Bud made his debut last Saturday at the Lake Placid Christmas parade, where he was "quite a hit with all the spectators."
"We weren't sure how he would react to all the people and the noises, but he did great, and made it through the whole parade route," Gunn said.
Benton was grateful for the donation from the American Legion that made the purchase of this dog possible.
"With their financial support Sarge was able to retire and Bud is coming to work. These gentle, smelly, soft, cuddly dogs save the lives of many missing children and elder persons throughout Florida; they find bad guys and are a tremendous partner to law enforcement. We are thankful to the American Legion and commit that Deputy Gunn will work hard with Bud and carry on the same tradition as Sarge," she said.
Bud got his name after retired Col. George "Bud" Day, a Medal of Honor recipient who died this year at age 88.
Day was ".one of the nation's most highly decorated servicemen and a tireless advocate for veterans' rights." CSBnews.com reports.
In an effort to educate the public and especially Highlands County elementary school students, the sheriff's office is sponsoring an essay contest open to fourth- and fifth-grade students enrolled in Highlands County schools.
The contest asks students to write an essay about Day's military career and why he was such an honored veteran.
One winner from each grade at each school will win a field trip to the Avon Park Bombing Range with the Highlands County Sheriff's Office K-9 Unit. These students will receive a tour of the facility and be able to watch the K-9 unit conduct a training exhibition. The field trip is scheduled for Jan. 16.