Darren Doyle, story:
A heartfelt tribute was given to former Edmonson County Sheriff's K9 Officer Tango at the Edmonson County 5/6 Center today, as a memorial stone and tree were unveiled near the playground.
Tango passed away earlier this summer from complications of an advanced kidney disease. A favorite of students all across the district, Tango was a staple of the school's D.A.R.E. program, led by Tango's handler, Deputy Jordan Jones.
"Tango was not only a very important member of our school, but our community," said 5/6 Center Principal Rex Booth. "We wanted to make sure we commemorated him, because in June we lost him to an aggressive kidney disease. It devastated those closest to him, it devastated our community, and it devastated our schools so we had some individuals that wanted to come together and do something in his remembrance because he was so special to our school."
Principal Booth asked Deputy Jones, who knew nothing about the presentation, to unveil the memorial, which was provided by Patton-Brantley Monuments and Mills Creations. The stone was laid in front of a magnolia tree, from Creekside Nursery, which was newly planted for this occasion.
Deputy Jones became emotional as he thanked the principal and teachers who attended the ceremony.
"Thank you guys, from the absolute bottom of my heart," said Jones. "Losing him was probably one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life. I know he was a big part of the community."
Deputy Jones then discussed the difficulties he's experienced since working without his partner.
"It means the world to me that you guys did this," he said. "You didn't have to do this. I'm happy to spend as much time as I do here, bring my dogs here, and serve these kids the best ways we know how and we're going to do that. I appreciate it."
A small child, who was standing with his mother, a school staff member, then picked a dandelion and placed it on the stone.