New service dog joins family of fallen officer Nick Winum

The non-profit Steadfast Service Dogs reached out to Kara Winum to help with her grief.

New service dog joins family of fallen officer Nick Winum
Kara Winum named her puppy Neriah, which means “light of Jehovah.” (Source: WHSV)

STANLEY, Va. (WHSV) - It has been almost two months since Stanley Police Officer Nick Winum was killed while conducting a traffic stop, but his loved ones said it feels like it was just yesterday.

“It feels like it was 2 days. It definitely doesn’t feel like two months have passed,” Kara Winum, Officer Winum’s wife, said.

Kara said Nick’s absence is greatly felt not just by her family but also by the community.

“He was amazing. There was never any question of his integrity. There was never any question that he was going to do the right thing. There was never any question that he cared about people,” Kara said.

All of the Winum children are grown and have moved away, so Kara decided she wanted to get a dog to keep her company.

That’s when she got a call from André and Gwen Sadowski.

The Sadowskis co-founded the non-profit called Steadfast Service Dogs.

The organization helps provide service dogs and training to anyone who needs them. Every service dog is bred from André's service dog, Snouticus, and they are then paired with their person based on compatibility.

Sadowski heard about Kara’s situation and said he wanted to help by offering to give her a service dog.

“It’s kind of the least I can do based on what I know of him; phenomenal man, phenomenal cop, very well respected,” André said. “One of the things I really envisioned for this placement was literally a dog that would walk next to her through this next chapter of her life.”

In meeting the Sadowskis and the puppies, Kara found her perfect fit.

Kara named her puppy Neriah, which means “light of Jehovah.”

She said it hits close to home because her faith has guided her through this tough time, along with a supportive community.

“I just love living in Stanley because I love our community and just how they’ve all surrounded me and my family with love and prayers. There is no way I could’ve made two months without those prayers and without God guiding me, directing me, and lifting me up every day,” Kara said.

And Kara said Nick would be happy knowing his family is in good hands.

“For him to know that everybody else is stepping in to help us and to comfort us and to really do so much, he would be so grateful. I know he would,” Kara said.

If you wish to donate to the Steadfast Service Dogs organization, you can find information here.

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