Sevan Volunteers Help “K9s for Warriors”
Volunteers from Sevan Multi-Site Solutions helped raise $177,000 for the “K9s For Warriors” Veterans Day telethon hosted by Jacksonville’s First Coast News. Marc Sierra and his wife Mary Kay took pledge phone calls to support “K9s For Warriors,” which is dedicated to providing service canines to warriors suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disability (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI) and/or military sexual trauma as a result of military service post 9/11. The goal is to empower them to return to civilian life with dignity and independence. The $177,000 raised in Veterans Day telethon will help double the size of their kennel operation.
Founder and president Shari Duval founded “K9s for Warriors” when her son returned from two tours in Iraq with PTSD. “This really hit home to our family. After two years of research on canine assistance for PTSD, we decided the best way we could help these deserving warriors was to start a non-profit organization to train and give service canines to assist our warriors’ efforts to return to civilian life with dignity and independence. We rescue the dogs, they rescue the warriors.”
K9s for Warriors is the chosen charity for Sevan’s NE Florida community. Mary Kay and Marc volunteer to help at the kennels and provide dinners for warriors living at the facility going through the program. Additionally, they are raising a puppy, “Stout,” who will begin his official service dog training in January of 2016.
Since its founding in 2011, “K9s For Warriors” has graduated 194 warriors. It takes “K9s For Warriors” trainers 3 to 6 months to train a service dog. Veterans in the program live at the facility for 3 weeks, bonding and training with their service dogs while learning to re-enter civilian life again. With a waiting list of over a year, “K9s For Warriors” recently expanded it facilities to accommodate 16 warrior graduates per month.