As a high school student, Sean Walsh dreamed of serving as a police officer for Santa Clara, with his eyes set specifically on becoming a canine handler.
It's why he joined the Santa Clara Police Explorer program in 2007, volunteering hundreds of hours at community events. He took that sense of service to Afghanistan, where he served as a military police officer for the Army National Guard.
The 21-year-old -- a Prospect High School alum who held the rank of specialist -- was killed in combat in November, 11 months into a one-year deployment.
To honor both his military sacrifice and police aspirations, his mother, Cheryl Walsh, donated $10,000 to Santa Clara to purchase, train and equip its next police dog. The money came by way of donations from across the U.S. to the "Sean M. Walsh K-9 Memorial Foundation," a nonprofit she founded that supports police canine programs.
Walsh presented the donation at a June 26 City Council meeting.
"It is our honor and privilege to donate to Santa Clara first," she said at the meeting.
Police Chief Kevin Kyle said the donation is the reason his department is getting Argo, a Belgian Malinois in line to replace Ciro, a police dog who is being retired after seven years of duty.
"I think this is an amazing way of recognizing Sean's dream," Kyle said.
Contact Robert Salonga at 408-920-5002. Follow him at Twitter.com/robertsalonga.