Local doctor takes ‘vested interest’ in protecting Worc. County Sheriff’s K-9

VESTING CEREMONY — Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis, left, with K-9 Nikita, Dr. Francis D’Ambrosio Jr. and Nikita’s handler Sgt. Thomas Chabot at a recent K-9 Vesting Ceremony held at D’Ambrosio Eye Care in Lancaster. A stab and bullet protective vest was donated to Nikita by Dr. D’Ambrosio, his medical staff and patients.

VESTING CEREMONY — Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis, left, with K-9 Nikita, Dr. Francis D’Ambrosio Jr. and Nikita’s handler Sgt. Thomas Chabot at a recent K-9 Vesting Ceremony held at D’Ambrosio Eye Care in Lancaster. A stab and bullet protective vest was donated to Nikita by Dr. D’Ambrosio, his medical staff and patients.

Athol Daily News

LANCASTER — Nikita, the newest K-9 at the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office has a new eye catching accessory thanks to the donation of local ophthalmologist Dr. Francis A. D’Ambrosio Jr., his medical staff and many of his patients.

After recently reading about Nikita’s remarkable journey from being a homeless puppy at the Sterling Animal Shelter to top drug sniffing K-9 at the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, the group set their sights on providing Nikita with a life saving vest to protect him in the line of duty.

The stab and bullet protective vest for Nikita was acquired through the local non-profit organization Vested Interest which helps to provide protective vests for law enforcement K-9’s throughout the United States, the vest itself costs around $1,000 and was paid for by D’Ambrosio Eye Care.

An official K-9 “vesting ceremony” was held recently at Dr. D’Ambrosio’s office in Lancaster to formally present the protective vest to Nikita and Worcester County Sheriff Lewis G. Evangelidis.

“The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office serves all of Worcester County and with D’Ambrosio Eye Care having four offices located in Central Mass, it seemed like a perfect fit. Each quarter, our employees select a fundraising activity with all of the proceeds raised during that period directly benefitting a local worthy cause. I am extremely proud of the generosity of our medical staff and patients for providing this lifesaving vest to Nikita to keep him safe,” said Dr. D’Ambrosio.

“Today is a very special day for our newest K-9 Nikita and the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office. Nikita is an extraordinary drug sniffing K-9 highly trained to detect both illicit and prescription drugs, we are extremely grateful for the generosity of Dr. D’Ambrosio, his medical staff and patients for donating this very costly and life saving bullet and stab protective vest to help keep him safe in the line of duty as he serves all of Worcester County,” said Sheriff Evangelidis.

Fundraising activities for Nikita’s vest included book, candy and bake sales which raised nearly $1,500. At the recent vesting ceremony, employees were excited to meet Nikita and to see the direct result of their fundraising efforts.