In memory of one of our own, America’s court reporting community has answered our nation’s call. Started at the grassroots level in Los Angeles, the Julie Brandau Community Service Memorial Project seeks to embrace the passions of our fallen colleague, Julie Brandau, a humanitarian and dog lover.
After Julie was murdered in an Atlanta courtroom in 2005, court reporters across the country joined hands with the Search Dog Foundation, whose noble mission is to rescue high-energy dogs and train them to become rescuers. Some of these dogs had been languishing in cages and were only hours away from being euthanized when the foundation stepped in to rescue them. They just needed a job.
Once the dogs are trained, SDF gives these phenomenal canines to firefighters and other first responders at no cost to their agencies. If the dog does not complete the training program, be it from a lack of focus or drive, the foundation guarantees lifetime care, never to be rescued again. Did you see the valiant efforts of the canine-handler teams when they deployed to the earthquake in Haiti, the tsunami in Japan, and the F-5 tornado in Missouri? Well, the court reporting industry was right there alongside the firefighters, providing them with a canine partner trained to search and alert on the humans buried alive in the aftermath of disaster.
It costs $10,000 to train each dog, and to date, the Brandau Memorial has generated more than $75,000 in donations to SDF, sponsoring the training of seven rescued canines. NCRA and many of its state affiliates have welcomed the canine-handler teams to their conventions where the fundraising continues in an effort to place more teams in service for Julie. This year, two reporters from New Mexico, Deb Williams and Jan Wimberly, sponsored the canine-handler teams’ travel and hotel accommodations to NCRA Philadelphia, which means that all of your donations, past and present, go to the training of the canines!
If you’d like to support SDF, visit www.searchdogfoundation.org, and mention “court reporter” with your tribute. Thanks to your generosity, Julie’s memory lives on.