When I first got injured overseas in Afghanistan, I never thought about getting a service dog to help me because I just wanted to be as normal as possible doing stuff on my own without any assistance. When I was introduced to NEADS, I submitted my application to see what would happen. I was accepted and went through the training. Chase helps me get things off of the ground that I have dropped. He can open up doors and turn on light switches. He can get my phone if I fall out of my wheelchair. When I am in my chair and get too far forward, he can come and brace his body to help me get back into my chair. Chase has eased my wife’s nerves when I go to different locations without her. He has given me more confidence and I know that I can go anywhere without any fears. I have grown attached to Chase and I think that I am extremely lucky to have a dog that looks to help me and just wants to make me happy.— Austin Burchard
On Saturday, April 20, 2013, 400 runners took off at the starting line at the Chris Sullivan Memorial 5k. The proceeds of the 5k benefit NEADS and the UMass Lowell Pershing Fund for Veterans. The run took place at the beautiful Tsongas auditorium, and was a huge success! Our special thanks to the Sullivan family and the organizers of the event.
Tiffany, with Rowan in his graduation cap (photo by Michael Stone)
What an incredible day we had this past Sunday, April 7, 2013! Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School rolled out the red carpet for NEADS and all our graduates and did an INCREDIBLE job hosting our Spring 2013 graduation ceremony. The facilities were beautiful, the auditorium was perfect, and the staff and students of Monty Tech could not have been more helpful. In particular, 1st Sgt Paul Jornet and his JR ROTC cadets made every person in attendance feel welcome. A huge thank you to Principal Nicholas DeSimone for graciously hosting NEADS at his school. Thank you to the Audio/Visual dept for going above and beyond to make sure that the ceremony went off without a hitch; Autobody/Collision Repair for the incredible work they have done on our donated Subaru; the Culinary Arts dept for preparing food and cake for graduation day; Graphic Communications for their ongoing support of our communications efforts; and Industrial Technology for building the “kitchen” pictured below especially for our on-stage demo!
We are honored and awed by the generosity of the staff and students of Monty Tech and are so grateful for this growing partnership! Photos by Michael Stone
Catlin opens the show singing “Hero”
Caitlin with her social dog Chance
John Moon gives Caitlin and Chance flowers
John Moon welcomes everyone
John Moon introduces guest speaker 1st Sgt Paul Jornet
Guest Speaker 1st Sgt Paul Jornet
!st Sgt Paul Jornet
John Moon presents the 1st Sgt with a thank you gift
NEADS’ director of Canine Services Carol Lidington introduces the graduates
CJ and his mother with Bedford giving their speech
Michael’s mom and Sailor accepting their diploma from NEADS CEO Gerry DeRoche
Patrick and his parents with Bixler giving their speech
Desiree and Kharma accepting their diploma
Cynthia and Dodie accepting their diploma
John and Service dog Owen
NEADS CEO Gerry DeRoche
James and Garret
NEADS Trainer Jen doing a demonstration of “nudge” to turn on the lights with service dog in training Carey
NEADS trainer Erin and Noonan
Erin takes a bottle from service dog in training Noonan
Noonan opens the fridge for Erin
Emily and Rev
Tiffany and Rowan (in his graduation cap!)
Emily accepts her diploma
Jane and Curly give their speech
Tina Marie and Whimsey give their speech
Eric with hearing dog Princess and Eric’s mother
Thank you, also, to the wonderful group of staff and volunteers who made graduation day possible.
This past weekend several NEADS Weekend Puppy Raisers traveled to Arlington National Cemetery to lay wreaths in specially designated areas, honoring our nation’s veterans. The fresh evergreens are a symbol used for centuries to recognize honor, and a living tribute renewed annually. This effort was begun by Wreaths Across America and their many supporters. We think it is especially important at this time of year to recognize and acknowledge the generosity of so many men and women who, over the years, have volunteered and sacrificed on behalf of our country and our veterans. Thank you.
On December 18, NEADS staffers, along with NEADS dogs Currahee and Rainbow, attended the Massachusetts Gold Star Families Tree Dedication Ceremony at the Boston State House. The tree honors local service men and women who gave their lives in service to our country. NEADS was honored to attend.
On October 13, BAE Systems/Acton OSS hosted a group bike ride to benefit NEADS Canines for Combat Veterans program. They did a fantastic job and we were so honored that they chose us to be the recipients of their efforts. We look forward to partnering with them again next year!
“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice (Veterans) Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations” – Woodrow Wilson
Today we honor the commitment, sacrifice and service of the men and women of our armed forces. It is an honor for the NEADS organization to be able to provide highly trained assistance dogs for our nation’s wounded veterans. Thank you for all that you do for our country.