After more than six weeks of preparation and collecting donated merchandise, volunteers will launch their third annual "garage sale" Thursday to benefit the Nodaway County Sheriff's Department's drug dog program.
The sale will take place Thursday though Saturday at Movie Magic, 216 West Third St. in Maryville. Larger items, such as furniture, bicycles and exercise equipment, will be on display in the walkout basement of the county jail at 404 N. Vine.
Sale times are 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday.
All proceeds will be used to pay costs associated with keeping the country's drug-detection dog, Jerik, and Jerik's handler, Deputy Vince Lippincott, trained and in the field.
Since the county acquired Jerik three years ago, Maryville resident Debbie Easterla has played a leading role in raising funds to support the county's canine program, which is mostly funded through private donations.
Easterla said Monday that the sale and other events net several thousand dollars a year for the program, which Sheriff Darren White has characterized as one of the best in the region.
"Debbie jumped on this early on, just as we were getting this going," White said. "She's been working non-stop now for three years. She's really been a huge, huge asset to this whole program, and you just can't say enough nice things."
White also gave Easterla credit for recruiting dozens of volunteers who have gone on to make significant contributions of their own.
As for the program itself, the sheriff said K-9 units are not a comprehensive solution in the battle against the illegal sale and use of controlled substances. But he added that Jerik has made a significant impact both in Nodaway County and the adjoining region.
"It gives us another tool that we can use," White said. "The dog can smell things that we can't even imagine, and sometimes when (suspects) know that he is coming they just kind of give it up."
White said he has received a number of requests from other jurisdictions asking to borrow Jerik and Lippincott for various operations, and that the team has built a reputation for being one of the finest around.
"When people want a dog, they want our dog," he said.
However, quality doesn't come cheap, and Easterla is hoping to raise big bucks this week in order to keep Jerik equipped, trained and working in top form.
On Monday Easterla was busy directing a group of volunteers at Movie Magic as they unloaded hundreds of items and placed them on display.
The merchandise included everything from clothes and electronics to power tools and collector dishes as well as more than 3,000 books.
Measured in terms of merchandise donated, Easterla said this year's sale easily eclipses those held 2010 and 2011.
Page 2 of 2 - In addition to bargains, the sale will include a number of activities and attractions, such as massages by Twila Swinford of Maryville Massage & Bodyworks, grab bags, refreshments, door prizes and a "rubber duck" drawing with merchant-donated prizes and gift certificates ranging in value from $10 to $95.
Nodaway County Sheriff Canine Unit T-shirts can be ordered during the event for $13, and a pair of silent auctions will offer participants a chance to bid on golf-related items as well as a large jewelry box.