Fourth grader forgoes birthday gifts for K9 ballistics vests

Photo courtesy Cedar Hill PD.
Cedar Hill Police Chief Steve Rhodes presented Camryn Samuel with the Department's Official Coin during a ceremony on Feb. 21.

ELLIS COUNTY — Mansfield fourth grader Camryn Samuel, 10, wrote a letter to the Ellis County Sheriff's Office offering to donate two K9 ballistic vests to the agency.

Samuel's inspiring story began in Sept. 2014 when she asked her friends to donate money to help purchase bullet proof vests for law enforcement dogs rather than bring gifts to her 10th birthday party.

Cedar Hill Police Department was the first benefactor of Samuel's heartwarming efforts in January of this year. Samuel raised $2,000 to replace K9 vests for Ranger and Rhoden.

"It makes me feel proud of myself because I’m doing something special for my birthday instead of getting presents," Samuel told NBC DFW in January.

The Cedar Hill PD and Cedar Hill city council recognized Samuel for her generosity in January and Corporal J.R. Podany with the Cedar Hill PD challenged Samuel to raise more money to help other area law enforcement agencies.

Camryn Samuel, 10, launched Camryn's K9s in Jan. 2015 to help law enforcement agencies purchase ballistics vests for their canine officers.Photo courtesy Camryn's K9s.

Camryn Samuel, 10, launched Camryn's K9s in Jan. 2015 to help law enforcement agencies purchase ballistics vests for their canine officers.

The 10-year-old is meeting the challenge. Within days she launched Camryn's K9s and began raising more funds.

Chief Steve Rhodes presented Samuel the Department's Official Coin during a ceremony on Feb. 21 and Samuel returned the gesture by presenting the Chief and K9 Unit officers with Camryn's K9s t-shirts.

"Thankful doesn't begin to cover the way we feel about Cedar Hill PD," Camryn's K9s said in a written statement.

The Ellis County Sheriff's Office's two canines are now benefiting from Samuel's dedication to preserving the lives of canine officers.

Captain Chuck Laubach of the Ellis County Sheriff's Office presented a letter to the Ellis County Commissioners' Court from Samuel during Monday's commissioners' court meeting and asked the court to approve acceptance of the donation.

"This is a letter from a 10-year-old girl that for her 10th birthday she decided rather than to receive gifts and party favors and such that she wanted to ask her friends to donate money to get ballistic vests for canines," Laubach told the commissioners. "I think that's a very nice gesture."

Corporal Mike McCorkle and his canine Riko (left) and Deputy Klinton Valley and his canine Blade (right) of the Ellis County Sheriff's Office.Photo courtesy Ellis County Sheriff's Office.

Corporal Mike McCorkle and his canine Riko (left) and Deputy Klinton Valley and his canine Blade (right) of the Ellis County Sheriff's Office.

"It just so happens that we have two canines and we're asking ya'll to approve acceptance of that donation."

Precinct four commissioner Kyle Butler made the motion to approve and precinct three commissioner Paul Perry seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

The next step is for Riko and Blade to be fitted for the vests.

If you are interested in helping Samuel continue her efforts to protect K9s with ballistic vests, you can visit the Camryn's K9s Facebook page or make an online donation.