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Persephone Guild buys vests for police canines
• Two Ceres Police canines were without protection
Persephone Guild police dogs
Members of the Persephone Guild gathered last week at the Ceres Police Department headquarters to present bulletproof vests for two police canines. The vests were fitted on K-9 “Banner,” at lower left with handler Officer Christian Izquierdo, and “Veko” at right with handler Officer Jesus Salinas. Members who made the presentation were: Sue Simpson (front middle), (first step up), Valli Wigt, Sue Reynolds, Linda Aycock, and club President Jackie Wimberly; (second step), Beverly Porovich, Nawatha Reed, Candy Brown and Tammi Kline; (top step), Sgt. Darren Venn, Nancy Johnson, Sheryl Yoder and Officer Charles Rushing. - photo by Jeff Benziger

The Persephone Guild of Ceres, a women’s service organization, recently purchased two bulletproof and stab resistant vests for two of the Ceres Police Department’s four K-9 officers.

The other two dogs are already equipped with vests.

“The vests make sure our dogs are well protected, to make sure that it’s a fair fight,” said K-9 Officer Christian Izquierdo.

Following a September 2021 presentation to the club by two officers accompanied by their dogs, members decided that raising the $1,800 for the purchase of the vests would be a worthwhile community service project. The vests were ordered to custom fit each dog.

Members were happy to see the dogs equipped with the vests at a presentation on Tuesday, March 15.

Sgt. Darren Venn said that police canines are typically in service for an average of seven to nine years with some as high as 12 years.

“So a city of our size, we are lucky to have four dogs,” said Sgt. Venn. “Most cities our size have two dogs.”

Each police canine goes home with the officer with the city paying for food and veterinarian care.

The dogs assist officers maintain control over uncooperative suspects and arrest in arrests. They also are sent into buildings to help flush out suspects who hide from officers or refuse to surrender.

The Persephone Club was formed in the 1930s by 10 women for the purpose of “social and recreational activity, the welfare of the community and church and their own enlightenment.”

Membership is capped at 32.

Other service projects have included providing scholarships for two high school graduates at Ceres, Central Valley and Argus high schools each. The club also purchased two benches which are installed at Persephone Park on Ceres’ east side. Other projects include assembling food baskets for needy families at Thanksgiving, supporting high school Sober Grad Nite events, the Halloween Trunk or Treat Festival and the Ceres Children’s Crisis Center.

The group is raising funds for projects with a drive-thru pasta dinner on Thursday, April 14 at the Tuolumne River Lodge. The dinner is from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tickets must be purchased in advance by April 6 from any Persephone member or by calling (209) 538-3805 and leaving a message. 

The group named itself after the Greek mythological character of Persephone, daughter of Ceres, the goddess of agriculture. The term “guild” is defined as “those working together for a common goal.” Meetings were held in members’ homes, so membership was limited to a size they felt could be accommodated easily. Today the club meets once per month and typically includes a guest speaker.