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Rep. Jason Elliott Honored by the American Kennel Club as South Carolina Legislator of the Year


For their Christmas Celebration and Annual Awards Ceremonies, Greenville Kennel Club members gathered at their city’s historic private Poinsett Club. On behalf of the American Kennel Club, I was delighted to present South Carolina State Representative Jason Elliott with the AKC Legislator of the Year Award.

Patty Van Sicklen, Regional Manager of Government Relations for the American Kennel Club, sent the following remarks:

The American Kennel Club proudly and gratefully honors Representative Jason Elliott as Legislator of the Year. We thank him for his advocacy on behalf of dogs and responsible owners. We thank him for his gracious assistance that enabled the Greenville Kennel Club to continue its more than 80 years of events and service to the community. AKC also thanks the Greenville Kennel Club members for recommending Representative Elliott for this honor. By working together, we can preserve and protect our purebred dogs and advance the well-being of all dogs.

Longtime GKC member and former President, AKC judge Robert L. Vandiver was joined by President Jeanette Stribling to present a check to Dr. Rob Presley for his KILO-9 organization.

When Matt Lovelace and Dr. Rob Presley’s paths crossed in 2015, they bonded over their mutual passion for K9 safety. The men came from two seemingly unrelated backgrounds: one, a military veteran turned Deputy Sheriff and K9 handler; the other, a veterinarian.

Together, they founded KILO-9. Matt and Rob recognized a tremendous need for K9 handlers to learn life-saving skills to treat K9 officers in the line of duty. Existing training taught handlers the basics of working with their K9 partner: how to deploy the dog, the importance of recall, and even basic first aid. This simply wasn’t enough, so Matt and Rob put their skill sets together and began designing and implementing high-intensity, realistic tactical training to teach critical skills to K9 handlers; and in 2017, the KILO-9 Foundation was born as a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

KILO-9 provides relevant and realistic K9 training to law enforcement officers by hosting medical training and tactical workshops with law enforcement agencies across the country. Their state-of-the-art training uses equipment and teaches K9 handling principles that simply have not been available before in law enforcement. Their training teaches three primary principles for maximizing K9 officer survivability: injury prevention, medical intervention, and remaining calm ( Honorary Greenville Kennel Club Membership Certificates were bestowed upon Rep. Elliott and Dr. Presley. Officers of the Greenville County Sheriff’s K-9 Unit and their wives were also honored guests of the club.

AKC delegate Gloria Askins presented AKC Sportsmanship prestigious gold medallions to Kari Hill and LouAnn McGahey. Gloria was surprised when President Stribling announced Askins was selected by club members as “Member of the Year.” Club Treasurer Ken Spiegel was celebrated for his dedication and decades of contributions to the club.

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Congratulations to Rep. Jason Elliott, Dr. Rob Presley and KILO-9, Kari Hill, LouAnn McGahey, AKC Delegate Gloria Askins, and Ken Spiegel!

Quality is not accidental. Longevity and accomplishments are to be enthusiastically applauded! Those rewarded by their peers in our sport are well deserving!

In the new year, let us surround ourselves with positive, accomplished, forward-thinking friends like these 2022 honorees. May each of you make an impact on the sport! Best wishes to you for a blessed and joyful 2023!