It all took place, thanks to the American Warrior Initiative (AWI). A nonprofit dedicated https://operationwarriorshield.com to supporting military families and Veterans, AWI was established by Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp. based in Ellicott City, Maryland. This year, AWI generously donated $30,000 in grant funding to WCC in support of its service dog placement program. That’s in addition to a generous $20,000 grant they gave WCC last year.
So where does the surprise come into play? During the video call, AWI surprised two of WCC’s Veteran Service Dog Team recipients with a $5,000 family grant each. The family grants were created to help with any needs either Veteran might have—from dog care expenses to home repairs. And as you might imagine, the reactions were priceless.
“Thank you so much, this means the world to me,” said Brent McKeag, who has WCC service dog Tallman. “I would like to say thank you so much to AWI and Fairway not only for what you’re doing but also to Warrior Canine Connection for pairing me with my beautiful wonderful dog, Tallman.”
Brent, an Army Specialist E-4 who lives in Stafford, Virginia, went on to share just how much Tallman has changed his life, as well as his son’s.
“He’s not just helping me, it’s been amazing to see how he reacts when my son has an epileptic seizure,” said Brent. “Tallman wasn’t taught to do it, but he won’t leave his side and gets my attention to let me know. I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
WCC Veteran Service Dog Team Cornelius Twohig and service dog Dana also received one of the $5,000 grants.
“I’m actually speechless, which doesn’t happen to me very often,” said Cornelius. “Thank you so much for your generosity, it’s mind-boggling. This takes my breath away; I can’t voice my appreciation enough. And thank you to WCC; getting this dog and working with a dog sort of allows me to look at a future I didn’t see before.”
Exactly the intention of AWI’s generous grant funds.
“We are so honored to have such amazing partners in the American Warrior Initiative,” said Rick Yount, founder and executive director, Warrior Canine Connection. “AWI talks the talk and walks the walk; they are 100% dedicated to helping our country’s Veterans and their families. This grant funding is really appreciated, and even more so, is the personalized touch and impact they have on each of the Veterans and their family members they support.”
Louise Thaxton, director and co-founder of AWI, hosted the call and shared the surprise. “Weezie,” as her friends call her, shared her personal mantra, “None of us can do everything, but all of us can do one thing.”
And that’s exactly what AWI is doing—one Veteran at a time.