CRESTVIEW — The K-9s for Crestview campaign fund is $5,678.55 closer to its $30,000 goal, and it's thanks to an unexpected source.
Dr. Greg and Jan Lillie, representing the estate of Diane K. Gilbert, who died of cancer Dec. 30, 2013, said their Alabama friend was fond of German shepherds, the breed chosen for Crestview's K-9 unit.
“She was a true dog lover,” Dr. Lillie wrote, requesting the donation be listed in Gilbert’s honor. “I knew this is a cause Diane would support.”
“It was out of the blue,” Police Chief Tony Taylor said of the donation. “I had tears in my eyes when I read their letter.”
“When we heard about Crestview’s need, we knew that was where the big chunk of (the money) should go,” Jan Lillie said. “Diane was a wonderful lady. She had no children so the dogs were her children.”
Jan said some money from the estate also went to buy puppies to be raised as guide dogs for the blind, to wildlife sanctuaries, and to humane societies in Florida and Alabama.
DIANE AND KODY
Jan said Gilbert often sat for the Lillies’ dog, and requested that after she died, the couple give their dog a treat every day at 7 p.m. and say it was from Gilbert.
The Lillies requested that if the estate’s contribution is one of the two highest — earning naming rights to one the two police dogs sought by Crestview Police — that it be named Kody.
“Mrs. Gilbert was a German shepherd fan, and her last shepherd was named Kody,” Taylor said.
“We are very grateful for their generosity,” he said. “The citizenry, they’ll step up to the plate when you have a need that’s a criticality. When you’re upfront with them and tell them what you’re going to do with the money, they never have a problem helping.”
Jan said she and her husband felt blessed to donate to the cause.
“... I’m glad we could do it for Diane,” Jan Lillie said. “She was a wonderful, sweet lady. She was a treasure I miss so, so much. We have a big ol’ blank spot in our life now.”
WANT TO HELP?
The Crestview Police Department welcomes donations toward reconstituting its K-9 unit. Donation checks may be made payable to the Crestview Police Department Auxiliary. Contact Officer Sam Kimmons, 305-7831 or firstname.lastname@example.org, for more details.