On Saturday, November 18, 2023, Corporal Matthew Waddington and his K-9 partner “Cairo” participated in a competition sponsored by “K9’s United.” The event was held in Jacksonville, Florida and featured K9 teams from 13 different agencies around the state. The teams participated in various challenges where awards were given for Obstacle Course, Fastest Dog, Hardest Dog, and Top Dog.
During the obstacle course, Corporal Waddington fell from a structure known as an “A Frame,” injuring his arm. Despite being in a great deal of pain, he completed the course, while managing to handle his K9 with his other arm. It was after the completion of this exercise that Corporal Waddington sought treatment at an area hospital where it was learned he dislocated his shoulder. Despite this setback, Corporal Waddington and Cairo placed first in that event. During the awards ceremony, it was learned that Corporal Waddington and Cairo were the only team who completed a perfect run and had the fastest time for the obstacle course.
“I am extremely proud of Matt for showing such heart and endurance,” said Sheriff Mark Hunter. “I have often said that I will put our employees up against any agency and something like this shows why. Matt embodies the resilient spirit and determination our employees have and truly represents the best within our organization. He could have easily quit when he got hurt and nobody would have blamed him for that. Instead, he persevered, and we are so proud of his accomplishment.”
Congratulations, Corporal Waddington and Cairo! You represented Columbia County well and we are proud of you! We wish you a speedy recovery.