Monday, May 1, 2017

May Day's bring?

 “It’s only after you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone that you begin to change, grow, and transform.” 
― Roy T. Bennett

The 7th Annual VetDogs 5/10k Run Walk was held at Kent Island, MD on April 23, 2017. The event was a huge success and thank God the weather which had been threatening to be a washout decided to hold off. Mike and I arrived on Saturday evening to the event grounds under the fog and drizzle that had been keeping the hearty Marylanders heads down for almost a week on and off. It did not look like it was going to be a beautiful day of sunshine but we were prepared to be out there none the less to support VetDogs and all the runners/walkers that wanted to raise money for America's VetDogs.

When we woke up and saw the beautiful Sunrise I knew we had been blessed, the temps were perfect and the clouds even though red in the morning were not threatening at the moment. So off to the registration area we went to see what we could do before all the runners arrived. All the Volunteers were already making the day move to a steady hum. With nothing for us to do except grab the camera gear and head out to the main field, Mike and I strapped on our gear and took off allowing everyone to do their work without us being in the way. As the crowds arrived, we were able to capture many great pictures of Charlie and Olivia (the NBC Puppy with A Cause Team, seen weekday at 8:30 on the Today show Nationally.) They were one of the highlights for many of the participants that came out to support the foundation.

The Naval Academy sent their Honor Guard to open and close the ceremony and did a great job. Secretly I kept looking over my head as I do every year hoping to see the Blue Angels appear and do a flyover (yes my way of hinting to anyone with strings they can pull). Of course, we got Charlie out there to partake in the opening also. The local NBC affiliate did some taping of Mike, Myself, Liberty and Melanie another Veteran along with Charlie and Olivia. Needless to say, some great press was had for VetDogs and the GuideDog Foundation throughout the day.

Of course, Mike did his fair share of hanging out in front of the camera along with many of his cousins and other service dogs. It was just a great opportunity to be able to show how Veterans are able to get back into the community and become powerful examples of what great citizens they are. This particular event seemed to draw this year more of our sister veterans with service dogs than past years which was great to see. I was finally able to meet CSM Evans who was this year's Keynote speaker. One of the reasons I had been looking forward to meeting her for a long time is we had both started out in the 82nd Abn Div around the same time even attending the fun in the sun event in Grenada. Our paths never crossed while on active duty, but we have chatted since becoming vetdogs team members, so it was great to finally meet each other.

Some of the other pictures from the event are at the bottom of the page. There were a lot of pets at the event along with a good number of puppy's in training. Some from the prison program and some from the home raising program. I will take a second here to point out that if you are interested in helping out, please contact America's VetDogs through their website they are always looking for volunteers of all shapes and sizes ;).

 Remember, the month of May is a busy month for many. There are many holidays along with schools getting ready to let out for summer vacations. I know that Mike and I have already started to get calls for different events that people would like us to be at. Don't forget about your nation's Veterans when you start to plan your Memorial Day events. Yes, we're honoring our soldiers and sailors that have passed but who better than a veteran to help our communities do that honor. If you don't know a veteran, please look up one of your Veteran Service organizations such as the American Legion, VFW or DAV. There are others also you can call, or even towns have veteran community links nowadays. Take a moment and reach out to ask for help it will bring a special meaning to your next event and also help bring a veteran back into the community.

 “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” 
― Wayne W. Dyer

“We are products of our past, but we don't have to be prisoners of it.” 
― Rick Warren

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