BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Oxford Community Schools returned from a long break to meet Deputy Oxford, who is part of the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office Therapy Canine Unit.
Clarkston Athletics used money raised in a quick T-shirt and yard sign fundraiser in December for Deputy Oxford.
“I truly feel like this is one giant hug from everyone in Clarkston, gifting Little Oxford to the Oxford community,” said Krystal Bergman, Clarkston Athletics Assistant. “I loved it too because I felt like this was a great way to help the most people. We wanted to impact as many people as we could and what better way with this little canine deputy.”
“Little Oxford is incredible,” said Clarkston Athletics Director Jeff Kosin, adding one of the questions Clarkston High School Police Liaison Deputy Alex Knopp receives a lot is how is Clarkston’s Canine Deputy Indy, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, who is at the school and at events, a therapy dog. “He said honestly some of the elementary kids might be afraid of dogs and a golden retriever might be intimidating for them. A dog of that stature and size, no one can be afraid of.”
He added it was all Bergman’s idea.
“It was really Krystal’s drive for this,” Kosin said. “She created this logo on the T-shirts and the yard signs. As soon as she did, people were posting it on their Facebook, putting it on Twitter, and calling us to ask where did it come from. She worked with Custom Threads & Sports and Mark McCord. It fell into place. It was all her. She asked if she could do something.”
When Bergman created the logo and put it as the cover photo on Facebook she didn’t expect it to take off like it did.
“It received such a nice response,” she said, adding a few people said they would love to see the logo on a shirt. “I thought ‘oh my gosh, what a great idea.’ The whole point of the shirts was to raise money for Oxford.”
Kosin added he was not surprised by the overwhelming response from the community.
“Being here for the last 20-plus years, I know what the Clarkston community is all about. I know how we rally behind each other especially when we talk about our community in general,” Kosin said. “When Krystal had this idea to put this out there I knew it was going to take off. I knew our community would rally for our neighbors and do what’s right for them in their time of need.”
But, Bergman wasn’t sure how they were going to use the money. There were so many options.
Then, Deputy Knopp brought Deputy Indy into the athletics office.
“Deputy Knopp was working on some things with Jeff, and I got to spend time with Deputy Indy,” said Bergman. “He is just so cute. He made me feel so much better. It was the first time he hung out in the office with me. He sat on my lap as I did some work. He was just so comforting and calming.”
She added she talked to Deputy Knopp about the therapy canines in the schools and the sponsorship program.
“I went home that night and I thought wouldn’t it be great if we could do this for the community of Oxford,” Bergman said, then she emailed Deputy Knopp about the idea. “He reached out to Lt. Todd Hill at the Independence Township substation. Then, Lt. Hill got in touch with me. It went from there.”
She added the timing was great. The fundraiser ended and Sheriff Michael Bouchard went to pick up Deputy Oxford.
“I feel like it was meant to be,” she said.
Bergman shared thank you to the entire community.
“This community always steps up to support whatever needs there are,” she said. “They really look out for each other and others. We really appreciate their support and encouragement. Thank you for allowing us to help in this way. It was one big group effort. We are grateful.”
Also, from Clarkston Athletics a sincere thanks to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, Deputies Knopp and Indy, Lt. Hill, Deputy Sheriff Sweer, Mission Oakland, fundraiser suppliers Custom Threads & Sports and Logos & Letters, everyone who purchased shirts/yard signs and to the entire Clarkston community for supporting neighbors in Oxford.