State police Superintendent Col. Nathaniel McQueen Jr. and K9 Unit on Dec. 21 recognized individuals, who have made contributions to the K9 Unit this past year.

In 2017, the K9 Unit raised over $10,000 to purchase ballistic vests for state police K-9. The cost of one vest ranges from $1,000 to $1,500, depending on the level protection and customization of the vest.

Those who contributed to the K9 Unit fund for the purchase of these new vests include:

*Brennen Wright a student at Appoquinimink High School. As part of his senior project, he raised funds along with Valerie DeLisle of the DeLisle K9 Officer Safety Foundation to donate ballistic vests for different police departments throughout the state.

The Veterinary Specialty Center of Delaware donated to Brennen's project for a vest to specifically to be given to the state police. Another vest that was donated this year was in memory of Sgt. Rodney H. Bond Jr.

*Ken and Annmarie Kowrach supported the K-9 unit to show thanks and appreciation on behalf of one of the graduating handlers, Cpl. First Class Brian Page (Troop 7).

*Heather Stuttard made a donation to the K-9 unit in memory of her beloved German Shepherd, Zak. She also has made a second donation in memory of her mother, Diane Stuttard, who recently passed away.

*Rich DeZao of the St. Polycarps Squire Circle has made annual donations to the K-9 Unit for the purchase of ballistic vests. The Squires also have conducted fundraisers at their church in order to support the Unit.

*Crystal Rau conducted a fundraiser earlier in the year specifically to contribute to the purchase of the new vests.

Through all of the support and contributions this year, the unit was able to purchase seven new vests to outfit their K9s. The vests are crucial to the dog’s safety when responding to potentially lethal incidents, and they will help protect the K9s from gun shots, stabbings, explosives, and blunt force trauma, state police said.