At Dell, we’re always looking for ways we can make a positive impact in our communities, and for the Dell Federal team in particular that extends to the men and women serving their country in the military, as well.
Three years ago I was introduced to K9s For Warriors, a non-profit that provides service dogs to veterans suffering from post-service trauma such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is one of the most prevalent conditions affecting post-9/11 veterans and the results of this, though often impossible to see on the outside, can be devastating. In the U.S. alone, 22 veterans commit suicide EVERY DAY.
The K9s for Warriors program works to save lives by connecting veterans with service dogs and has achieved a 100 percent success rate in preventing soldier suicide. PTSD is a terrible epidemic effecting some of our country’s finest men and women, and we felt K9s for Warriors was a fantastic organization doing some great work that we could help better accomplish their important mission through more effective use of technology.
Through Dell Giving, we began to work with K9s for Warriors on a number of initiatives to help grow the organization and invest in new canines to be trained. To date, Dell has donated new notebooks and data center equipment at K9’s training facilities, sponsored two dogs and has contributed more than $70,000 to the organization through employee giving and corporate matching via Dell Giving. With the help of Dell Federal, K9s for Warriors was able to open a new learning center in July equipped with state-of-the-art office technology so that the staff can continue to spread their message, conduct outreach and more efficiently perform their mission. In addition, on Military Appreciation Day this year, Dell Federal created a special donation package that awarded five veteran Warriors a Dell laptop when they enrolled in the training program and got a dog.
One of the most rewarding aspects of our partnership was seeing our first canine graduate from training and connect with his new veteran owner. Our service dog affectionately named “Dell” was paired with Bryan Foltz (below), a veteran U.S. Army Specialist who was diagnosed with PTSD and traumatic brain injury. In June, members from the Dell Federal team attended the graduation ceremony at the American Legion in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, and met the new pair. Foltz and Dell (the dog) spent three weeks training together at the K9s For Warriors facility. Dell was specifically matched and trained for Foltz’s needs, and he is currently moving to Florida with him to attend Florida Coastal School of Law.
Here at Dell, we have already begun sponsoring our next dog “Lightning,” named after the F-35, to help a new veteran in need. K9s for Veterans is just one of the many ways Dell helps veterans acclimate back to day-to-day life after service. We work with Wounded Warriors, Operation Homefront as well as K9s for Warriors to give back to the veteran community.
The main takeaway for me is that not all wounds are visible and all of our veterans deserve our respect and gratitude. Our support for K9s for Warriors is just one small way we can assist our veterans.