With nearly 300 suggestions from the community, Novi Police K-9 named ‘Becker’ to honor Air Force veteran
Release date: Monday, April 22, 2019
Contact: Nathan Mueller, Community Relations Specialist (248) 735-5628
Maj. Andrew Becker, a Novi HS grad, died during training flight in 2017
NOVI, Mich., April 22, 2019 – With the addition of a new K-9 to its force, last week the Novi Police Department took to social media to help find its newest member a name. Combing through nearly 300 submissions, Novi Police Officer Stacey Simon took the weekend to look through the list and kept coming back to the name “Major.”
The name “Major” stood out in Simon’s mind for two reasons. One because it was the name of her childhood dog, and two because it was the rank of Novi High School graduate and fallen U.S. Air Force Maj. Andrew Becker who died tragically in a training exercise in 2017.
“May I suggest ‘Major’ as the name for the new K-9 dog? As in Major Andrew Becker,” proposed Novi resident Gary Becker. He went on to share, “Andy and (his wife) Shelly were active supporters of a couple of rescue dog organizations, helping get rescued dogs to new owners. It would be a wonderful and lasting tribute to a Novi hero. The new K-9 police dog will help protect the citizens of Novi, just as Andy did in being in the military.”
Maj. Becker was 33-years-old when the plane he was flying during a training mission in March 2017 crashed, killing Becker and two other airmen. He had served in the Air Force for 10 years and was awarded 22 Air Force service medals, including a Meritorious Service medal during his career. He had also been deployed nine times to fly 459 combat missions, logging over 2,000 hours in Afghanistan, Iraq and other undisclosed countries. In September 2017, the City of Novi honored Maj. Becker and his family with a memorial outside the Novi Civic Center that includes a tree, plaque and stone bench inscribed with “Andy’s Bench” with bronze boots. His parents Gary and Stacey Becker have lived in Novi for 44 years.
Because she had a dog named “Major” growing up, Simon didn’t want to use the name again. She did, however, want to honor the family and a military hero. After much thought, and although not the original suggestion, she said it felt “right” to name her new partner “Becker.”
“This new dog is going to be a part of the community, another way to connect with people, so I wanted him to have a name that meant something,” said Simon, who has been an officer in Novi since 2015. “I really like the name because it is different and unique, but mainly because it is a tribute to Andy and the sacrifice he made serving our country.”
Simon picked up “Becker” on April 18 from the Shallow Creek Kennels in Sharpsville, Penn., and will train at the Oakland Police Academy from May 13 to June 27.
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