FAIRBORN, Ohio (WDTN) – The Dayton community has such close ties to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the regional president of PNC Bank said it was an easy decision to find a way to give back to veterans, and announced their plan during a Tuesday morning breakfast.
During the kick off, PNC officials announced their new Community Mutt Strut, a family event that raises funds for veterans to get medically-trained service dogs.
“The service dogs are highly trained to help our veterans,” said David Melin, the PNC regional president. “The cost for one service dog is $22,000. So it’s not inexpensive, but you think about the impact that can have on a military veteran, $22,000 really isn’t a lot of money.”
PNC is working with ‘Guardian Angels,’ an organization that trains the dogs, finds out the needs of the service men and women and pairs them with the right dog.
It is Guardian Angels that paired Blade, a German Shepherd service dog, three-years ago with Michael Clark who experiences PTSD after serving as an Army major in Afghanistan.
“I had a really hard time with my memory after a severe traumatic brain injury,” said Clark. “Having Blade here with me to help get through the days and help me remind me of different things has been really helpful.”
Clark said getting a service dog is a lengthy process, but worth every moment.
He was the guest speaker on Tuesday and said this would provide a lot of hope for other veterans.
“Being paired with Blade has given me an opportunity to open up, given me a sense of confidence again to be able to go out and go to the mall, go to the grocery store and do all of the things that I kept myself from doing when I returned from combat,” said Clark. “She really has saved my life.”
PNC has a goal to raise enough funds for 10 dogs.
The first Community Mutt Strut will be October 19 at Eastwood Metro Park.