Veterans group raising funds for citizen’s service dog

Published 8:07 am Friday, October 20, 2017

Giving back to those that gave their all is the narrative for Veterans’ Buddies.
Since their formation, the nonprofit organization has spent countless hours working with the veteran population of Carter County and look to utilize pets as a way to help veterans coping with their stay in the community.
Recently, the organization has spearheaded a campaign to raise funds for a local veteran, who will remain nameless, and their service dog, Sissy.
Suzanne Prince, with the organization, shared the story of the veteran, who lives in the community. During their service overseas, they were hit by an explosion, which resulted in physical disabilities and PTSD. Sissy helps the veterans with day-to-day activities.
Since moving to a new location, Sissy needs a fenced in yard to exercise daily. The veteran lives alone, so Prince added the organization is looking to do what they can to help.
With the support of a local merchant, who donated supplies, the project is expected to cost over $600 to complete, according to Prince. Rolling Thunder’s local chapter has also pledged support by helping put up the fence. All proceeds will go toward buying material to put up the 170-foot enclosure.
Veterans’ Buddies has organized a crowdsourcing account online to help raise funds, which can be located by visiting their Facebook page. Members of the public that want to assist with the cause can also mail in a donation by sending it to PO Box 337, Elizabethton, TN, 37644.
Prince is one of the key members that help the organization move along. The board is comprised of President Chris Prince, Vice-President Duane Gilbert, Vice President Dr. Kate Zimmerman and Suzanne, who serves as treasurer.
One of the essential components of Veterans’ Buddies the opportunity to provide no-cost adoptions to veterans in the community. Prince added there is an application process to make sure a pet is suitable for a veteran before the approval takes place.
Using data provided by the United States Census, Veterans’ Buddies was able to determine that 10.7 percent of the population in Carter County are veterans, with 11 percent of the veteran population falling below the poverty threshold.
Along with the no-cost adoptions, the organization is looking at boosting their pet pantry for low-income veterans. The treasurer stated that the pantry includes monthly home delivery of dog or cat food, flea/tick medication, and heartworm preventative measures.
The pet pantry is open to any low-income veteran that was honorably discharged and earns less than $16,040 with a household or one person, or less than $21,599 with two people in the home, according to the organization’s website.
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