The Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity at NMU pushed a bathtub from Sault Ste. Marie to Marquette to raise money for the Marquette Police Department K9 Unit.
The tub push began just outside of Sault Ste. Marie on Friday, Oct. 5 and ended at the TKE house at 625 N. Fourth St. in Marquette 33 hours later. Participants of the tub push included 18 TKE members, the TKE chapter adviser and one member of the Alpha Sigma fraternity at NMU.
“We saw that the police department needed money for the K9 unit,” said Anthony Wilson, NMU TKE president.
The tub push crossed nearly 170 miles and raised more than $500 for the K9 Unit. Money raised for the event came through donations from local businesses and individuals.
“We went door to door asking for donations,” Wilson said.
In addition to the tub push, TKE will be starting at penny drive at Bothwell Middle School in Marquette to continue to raise funds for the K9 unit. There will also be an upcoming can drive.
All money raised will be directly sent to the K9 unit of the Marquette Police Department. Funds will be used to help pay for new equipment as well as food and medication for the two dogs.
The police department’s funds diminish quickly in the K9 unit. The cleanup of drug sites alone depletes the majority of the budget, without the added cost of training or care for the dogs, K9 Unit Sgt. Matthias Munger said.
“We did a small fundraiser for Nero back in 2004, but not as large as this time around,” Munger said.
Nero, the dog who was retired after eight years of service for health reasons, was replaced earlier this year with two 1.5-year-old Belgium Malinois dogs.
More than $48,000 was raised to replace Nero as well as purchase an additional K9 when he was retired back in May. Money was raised through a community fundraiser to purchase the two new dogs, Scud and Frodo.
“We don’t want to keep relying on the community for money,” Munger said.
TKE took a vote at the end of the summer to decide where they wanted the money raised from the tub push to go before committing to fundraising for the K9 unit Wilson said.
The 20-year tradition of the TKE tub push normally sends donations to support Alzheimers research. The fraternity held a golf outing earlier this year as their Alzheimers fundraising event instead of the tub push.
The TKE fraternity has previously raised funds for the Special Olympics as well as the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum.
“It was fun and we had a good time but it does get old after the first mile or so,” Wilson said.
The bathtub was constructed with two bike tires in the back and one on the front with a long bar across to push. One of the bathtub tires broke off in Sault Ste. Marie and TKE had to borrow the bathtub that belongs to the Lake Superior State University TKE fraternity.
“It is kind of like a cross between a shopping cart and a tricycle,” Wilson said.
As for the tub push next year, the fraternity is still unsure as to where the money raised will go. If the K9 unit is still in need of money, the fraternity said that there is the possibility that they will raise funds for them again.