Members of Congress Recognized for Leadership

IMG_20170719_122137_097

Leash of Leadership Awards

WUSA Channel 9’s Andrea McCarren presents Rep, Elisa Stefanik with the Leash of Leadership Award.
WUSA Channel 9’s Andrea McCarren presents Rep, Elisa Stefanik with the Leash of Leadership Award.

Washington, D.C. (July 17, 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 in order to expand access to service dogs for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

U.S. Army combat veteran Jason Pak speaks about his experiences with his service dog Indy.
U.S. Army combat veteran Jason Pak speaks about his experiences with his service dog Indy.

“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.

U.S. Navy Veteran Chad Brown speaks at the Leash of Leadership awards ceremony about the benefits of his service dog Axe.
U.S. Navy Veteran Chad Brown speaks at the Leash of Leadership awards ceremony about the benefits of his service dog Axe.

About The Association of Service Dog Providers for Military Veterans:

 The Association of Service Dog Providers for Military Veterans (ASDPMV) is a coalition of non-profit service dog providers for military Veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury and military sexual trauma working to prevent suicide and improve military Veterans’ mental health.

 The goal of ASDPMV is to ensure that best practices are utilized by qualified organizations to ensure that Veterans are paired with the most beneficial service dogs; increase awareness and understanding of the medical evidence that supports the use of service dogs, and advocate for the expanded use of qualified service dogs.

About Semper K9 Assistance Dogs:

Semper K9 Assistance Dogs is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides assistance dogs for wounded, critically-ill and injured members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families. Christopher Baity, Semper K9’s Executive Director, is an OEF/OIF combat veteran Marine Corps dog trainer and kennel master with three combat deployments, one civilian deployment and two additional overseas deployments with military working dogs. To learn more about Semper K9 at www.SemperK9.org.