Supporting Veterans Can Happen In Ways You’d Never Imagine

January 18, 2019By Acts of Kindness, Behind the Shelf Blog, Tradition of Giving

 

By Gail Konrath, accounting and facilities manager, for the Tradition of Giving blog series

Being separated from loved ones for long periods of time, emotional struggles, and becoming wounded in battle are just some of the things our service men and women go through. They truly sacrifice so much to keep our country safe. It was with this in mind that I enthusiastically offered up my idea for what to do with the Administrative department’s charitable funds this holiday season.

You see, during 2018 we had raised funds in numerous ways, including casual dress days and potluck lunches, and at the end of the year, we usually vote on a charity or two to share the money with; however, 2018 was different. Each department at Hamacher Resource Group was able to select one or more charities that were meaningful to them. For us, that was supporting our veterans, but not in a way you might imagine.
Vets who have been injured during their deployment often have difficulty getting around or feeling safe, and this is where Feherty’s Troops First Foundation comes in with their 24/7 Battle Buddies program. They provide service dogs specifically matched to the wounded veteran.

But service dogs of this nature require very specific training, the kind Jessifany Canine Services, a business in a nearby community, offers. Jessifany hand picks, matches, and trains the service dogs to each individual’s needs so the companions can assist the veteran in successfully navigating everyday life.

I learned about Jessifany over the summer. Each year, they invite the wounded veterans, their families, and their dogs to a week-long event which includes competition, further training, and fund raising events. After hearing about the event and the opportunity to enjoy some evening entertainment and meet the participants, I witnessed firsthand what Jessifany does for the veterans that were introduced by Feherty’s. I was able to speak to some veterans and see the interaction they had with their dog. It was amazing to see how they truly protect and provide companionship to their veteran partner.
Others in the Administrative department agreed, Feherty’s Troops First Foundation was a worthy organization that we wanted to share our funds with.

My co-workers were able to experience firsthand how special the service dogs are when Jesse Smith of Jessifany came into our office to demonstrate some of the ways he works with his dogs. Being a veteran himself and working with veterans programs over the years, he truly understands their needs and how to provide for them.
To date, they have 34 dogs working with their battle buddies throughout the country – from Oregon to New York. I am pleased to share that we were able to provide financial support to Feherty’s Troops First Foundation to specifically support the 24/7 Battle Buddies program.

This was just one of the many organizations HRG supported this year with a mix of personal and business-level donations. I am thankful to work for such a giving group of individuals. We will continue to share even more stories throughout the year in our Tradition of Giving blog series.