Scrapper’s Rescue Corporation hosts ribbon cutting ceremony

Published 4:30 pm Friday, April 22, 2022

NILES — A new non-profit organization was officially welcomed into the community Friday morning.

Community members and business owners attended Scrapper’s Rescue Corporation’s ribbon-cutting ceremony at 211 E. Main St.,Niles.

“This is now our home,” said SRC founder Patricia Bickel. “I feel welcomed in our new home. Everything we do is for the community. I look at this as a community store. The proceeds go right back into the community. This is our home and I’m gonna put 200 percent into it.”

Guests were able to tour the non-profit, which opened last winter and sells donated items for proceeds to go toward rescuing animals and training suitable dogs to become service dogs for veterans and the disabled.

The non-profit was founded by Bickel in honor of her son, Tim “Scrapper” Heiser. After being unable to serve in the military due to his epilepsy, Heiser founded Scrapper’s Rescue [formerly Elkhart’s Furry Friends] in 2009 to rescue animals and help local veterans and the disabled with ramps, food and other services.

When Scrapper passed away in 2014, Bickel founded Scrapper’s Rescue Corp. to keep his legacy alive.

“I’m hoping that the community will get more involved with local service dogs and different veterans and the disabled, which do not have many local entities that are there for them,” she said. “Not only do we help with training with service dogs and veterinary care, we also help the families with mortgages, rent and utilities. I’m not state or federally funded; everything we do is through the donations of the community.”

According to Bickel, Friday’s proceeds will be going toward helping a family with service dogs avoid eviction.

“We’re going to be doing fundraisers to help get them caught up,” she said. “I don’t want their two service dogs to go back into the shelters and rescues and I’m afraid that could happen. We’re going to do whatever we can to help.”

Bickel hopes that Scrapper’s presence downtown will lead to more help for veterans and disabled.

“Here, the community is helping the community, which is the way it should be,” she said. “I’m hoping that I can maybe get at least a couple more people to help in the community.”