A salute to soldiers – and a salute to their dogs.
That’s the mission behind this weekend’s Salute to Soldiers, to be held at the Polish Club of Agawam on Oct. 28.
All funds raised will benefit America’s VetDogs, an organization based out of Smithtown, New York, that pairs veterans, active-duty service members and first responders with service dogs. From World War II to current conflicts, veterans and first responders assisted by the organization come from all different types of backgrounds.
According to press materials, “VetDogs trains and places guide dogs for individuals who are blind or have low vision; hearing dogs for those who have lost their hearing later in life; service dogs for those with other physical disabilities; facility dogs as part of the rehabilitation process in military and VA hospitals, and PTSD service dogs to help mitigate the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Dogs assist veterans with a range of mobility and other tasks to achieve one goal: independent living.
It costs over $50,000 for America’s VetDogs to breed, raise, train and place one service dog, but veterans are not charged. America’s VetDogs provides its services completely free of charge.
This year is especially noteworthy, as the organization is marking its 20th anniversary. Since its founding in 2003, America’s VetDogs has paired 1,000 service dogs with veterans and first responders in need, according to the organization’s website.
The fifth annual Salute to Soldiers will begin at 5 p.m., with dinner to be served at 6 p.m. The event will include a barbecue buffet, raffles, live music and more. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online. All funds raised benefit America’s VetDogs services. For more information, call 413-726-8883.
A second fundraising event – a walk-through “basket auction” – will be held on Nov. 18 in Coram, New York.
For more information on the organization, visit America’s VetDogs’ website.
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