Leash of Leadership Awards
Washington, D.C. (July 19, 2017)- The Association of Service Dog Providers for Military Veterans (ASDPMV) honored several members of Congress in an awards ceremony this afternoon on Capitol Hill. The Leash of Leadership Awards recognized those who have gone above and beyond to assist with ASDPMV member organizations, who provide service dogs to disabled veterans.
The ceremony, sponsored by Nelson Mullins, was hosted by WUSA Channel 9’s Andrea McCarren. McCarren has a special interest in this cause as she is raising a puppy that will be trained to assist a disabled veteran.
Special speakers for the event included Jason Pak, a U.S. Army combat veteran, and Chad Brown, U.S. Navy combat veteran. Pak and Brown are decorated wounded veterans and have successfully reintegrated back into civilian life with the assistance of their service dogs, Indy and Axe.
Awards were given to Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL-12), Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD-8), Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL-4) and Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL-06). DeSantis recently reintroduced the bipartisan Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers (PAWS) Act to expand access to service dogs for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“We have asked our veterans to endure great sacrifice so that we may live in freedom; we must provide the best care possible to those bearing invisible wounds of war such as post-traumatic stress,” DeSantis said. “I have seen first-hand how specially-trained service dogs can mitigate the symptoms of post-traumatic stress for veterans who have been failed by traditional therapies. The PAWS Act will allow the VA to utilize this specialized treatment in their fight against post-traumatic stress.”
Founding service dog organizations of ASDPMV also recognized other members of Congress for their efforts in assisting on a local level. “The Leash of Leadership Awards is a celebration of the elective officials who have made a considerable impact in the service dog industry,” said Rory Diamond, Chief Executive Officer, K9s For Warriors. “These leaders deserve public recognition. Not only are they committed to their intricate roles as lawmakers, but they also take great pride in supporting our disabled veterans.”
“It is important for The Association to recognize our leaders for their efforts,” stated Jordan Kaye Colvin, Executive Director and Founder of ASDPMV. The Association, which held its inaugural national conference this week brings together organizations who provide service dogs to military veterans.
“Our organizations coming together as a team to collaborate and enhance the quality of life of disabled veterans is a testament to all of our missions,” said Christopher Baity, founder and Executive Director, Semper K9 Assistance Dogs. “We are successfully changing lives and joining forces to create awareness for all within the industry.” The founding member organizations include of K9s for Warriors, K9 Partners for Patriots, Labs for Liberty, Paws for Liberty, Semper K9 Assistance Dogs, This Able Veteran and Veterans Moving Forward. To find out more about their efforts visit www.servicedogs4vets.org.