Steadfast Service Dogs to donate service dog to widow of officer who was just murdered in the line of duty


FAYETTEVILLE, NC – A non-profit organization (NPO) specializing in training service dogs recently had the opportunity to connect with a woman whose husband of 26 years was killed while he was initiating a traffic stop in Stanley last February.

When the husband-and-wife team behind this amazing NPO caught wind that this grieving widow was on the lookout for a German Shepherd, they happily agreed to help her out in her time of need, offering to train one of their own service dogs just for her.

We at Law Enforcement Today are hoping that you can help keep this amazing NPO continuing their great work. Since Steadfast Service Dogs is an IRS approved 501c3 non-profit, all donations are tax deductible.

Law Enforcement Today has previously covered the amazing work done by Steadfast Service Dogs, which is truly a labor of love for Andre and Gwen Sadowski.

The goal of the NPO and the couple behind it is simple: train service dogs so that people in need can have one of their amazing companions donated to them.

One can’t get more wholesome than having an outfit dedicated to helping individuals with disabilities and/or suffering the trauma associated with issues like PTSD.

That’s exactly why the work Steadfast Service Dogs does in tandem with their mission is not only important, but it’s a cause that anyone can appreciate and support.

Back on February 26th, 48-year-old Stanley Police Officer Dominic “Nick” Winum was killed while initiating a traffic stop.

As fate would have it, Andre and Gwen Sadowski would wind up getting in contact with Officer Winum’s widow after they heard she was vying for a four-legged companion to help her deal with the loss of her husband.

In a post shared by the NPO on March 18th, the following was noted about how fate connected Officer’s Winum’s widow and the Sadowskis:

“Nick was a 15-year Law Enforcement veteran. He served for 10 years as a Virginia State Trooper, and 5 years with the Stanley Police Department. He was well liked and very well respected  by everyone that he served with, and the citizens that he served.

“He was also a husband, and a father of four. His family is devastated. His wife of 26 years is grappling with the prospect a future without her partner.

“Two days ago, in a conversation with a close friend, Nick’s wife Kara mentioned that she really needed a dog to help her make it through this. In specific, she wanted a German Shepherd.

“This morning, we had an hour long conversation with her. At times positive, at times tearful. Before the call ended, we told Kara that we would provide one of our dogs to her, to walk next to her through the roughest time in her life.”

With running a non-profit that consists of breeding, raising, housing, training, and donating service dogs, clearly there are costs associated with the effort.

And without the generosity of others contributing what they can to help Steadfast Service Dogs keep their mission alive and going, people like Kara Winum wouldn’t be able to have this lifeline in her time of need and loss.

So, if you can, please consider making a donation to Steadfast Service Dogs at the link here. Because when you help fund this organization, you’re helping people just like the wife of late-Officer Winum.

I certainly wouldn’t ask anyone else to do something I, personally, wouldn’t be willing to do myself – so I’ve taken the first step myself in donating to this amazing group.

Image of donation confirmation - courtesy of Greg Hoyt
Image of donation confirmation – courtesy of Greg Hoyt

And I know we have some amazing readers of Law Enforcement Today who’ll do the same for our friends at Steadfast Service Dogs.

With all of our help, we can make sure that this organization can continue providing invaluable help to those who need it most.

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As mentioned earlier, we at Law Enforcement Today shared the unfortunate news of Officer Winum’s passing. 

Here’s that previous report regarding the loss of this officer, husband, and father. 


STANLEY, VA – According to authorities in Virginia, a 48-year-old Stanley Police officer was fatally shot during a traffic stop on the afternoon of February 26th. Officials stated that the suspect was also fatally shot in the incident. 

In a statement provided by the Stanley Police Department, Officer Dominic Winum was fatally shot during a traffic stop on February 26th.

The traffic stop reportedly occurred within the 600 block of Judy Lane in Stanley.


While details of what prompted the initial traffic stop are unclear as of this writing, the suspect reportedly shot Officer Winum before he could even exit his patrol vehicle during the stop. 

Virginia State Police officials allege that the suspect, identified as 29-year-old Dakota Richards, fled from the scene on foot thereafter – where Richards was said to have tried hiding out in a barn.

After deputies from the Page County Sheriff’s Department located the suspect, officials allege that Richards made a “threatening movement” and officers fatally shot the suspect.

News of the suspect being fatally shot by authorities came after initial reports claimed that Richards was taken into custody by officers. 

Officer Winum had served with the Stanley Police Department since 2016. Prior to his service with the SPD, Officer Winum had been a trooper with the Virginia State Police from 2006 to 2016. 

Stanley Police Chief Ryan Dean afforded the following comments about Officer Winum’s passing: 

“It is with heavy hearts this evening that we must inform our community of the line of duty death of one of our own: Officer Dominic “Nick” J. Winum.”

He went on to say:

“Since joining our department in 2016, he proudly served and protected the Stanley community. I know the Stanley and Page County community are keeping Nick and his family in their prayers during this most difficult time.”

The Virginia State Police are reportedly taking the lead on the investigation.

This is a developing investigation. 

Please follow Law Enforcement Today as we gather further information on this case as it becomes available. 


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