Is a Howing Success!
This annual event, hosted by ALTAIR Training Solutions, is an important avenue of funding for Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, Inc. In an emotional opening ceremony, the Golden Gate JROTC Honor Guard presented the flag to Brian Jones, CEO of ALTAIR Training Solutions. He raised the flag with fellow veteran and service dog recipient, Ray Galmiche.
Following the flag raising, opening remarks were made by Jennifer Walker, of The Walker Group, Morgan Stanley who also served as Chair of the Bark-A-Que planning committee. Host and sponsors Michelle and Brian Jones followed Jennifer’s remarks, who spoke with great emotion about his service dog, Sarge, and the difference that Sarge has been able to make in his life. Carol Borden, Founder and Executive Director of Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, Inc. spoke next, passionately, about the incredible relationship between one service dog, one veteran, and the life-saving change that it can make in that life.
Immediately after opening remarks, Brigadier General David Bassett introduced veteran and service dog recipient, Eric Calley, who took the stage to make an incredible, surprise presentation to Ray Galmiche, awarding him the Order of the Purple Heart Plaque for his heroic service in Vietnam. Mr. Doug Pickel handcrafts these amazing plaques in Michigan; and he is currently the only person commissioned by the Order of the Purple Heart Society to create these works of art.
The day also featured an incredible silent auction, with over 70 items including trips, incredible artwork, beautiful custom-made jewelry; even pistols donated by Kel-Tec! There was certainly something to bid on for everyone!
The music at the Bark-A-Que was nothing short of spectacular, and was kicked off by Jon Bowlin, a local artist who you just have to hear, to know just how good his voice really is! His performance was followed by country music’s rising star and hardest workingman, Joe Bachman & the Tailgaters. They put on a fantastic, energy-packed 2-hour show that wowed the crowd and kept them wanting more.
Next on the main stage was Lieutenant General Steele. He delivered an impassioned speech about the challenges our returning heroes are facing, and how we, as citizens can help.
The kids enjoyed a daylong play area, with bounce houses, horse rides, face painting and more. In addition, there was terrific bbq, tours of the former Hendry County Prison (now ALTAIR Regional Headquarters), and a spectacular south Florida day to enjoy it all!
Overall, a wonderful, successful event, and we already can’t wait for next year!
If you’re interested in learning more about the work Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs is doing, or would like to contribute to our cause, please visit: www.medicalservicedogs.com.
Many vendors and sponsors ensured the day’s success for Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, including ALTAIR Training Solutions and the Women of ALTAIR; CMG; The Seminole Tribe of Florida; Sanders Unlimited at the Franklin Shops; Gates Construction; The Walker Group, Morgan Stanley; Naples Daily News; SRT Group; Akerman; Pinnacle; Algenol; Naples Skinny; Larry & Dean Lohman; P & L Marine; Neurology & Spine Center; Mike & Barb Hackelman; Thomas Cole & Associates; Animal Clinic of Oceanway; Arthrex and more, and we can’t thank all of them enough for their generous support.