Meet the Vets and the Pups
The funds we raise support our featured charity, Paws for Patriots™, a program of Southeastern Guide Dogs that provides guide dogs to veterans. Read on to learn about the pups we've sponsored.
The Guide Dogs We’ve Sponsored
Thanks to the generosity of Southwest Florida, we have been able to sponsor six guide dogs to date! We hope “our” little puppies will grow up and give back freedom to someone who lost their sight defending our freedom! The dogs we are sponsoring often come to our events – so be sure to come out and meet the dogs in person! Read a little more about all of the puppies we’ve sponsored below…
Dancer, our very first pup in 2007, was raised in Ft Myers by Roy and Deb Kennedy, along with John and Karen Fortin. Today Dancer is a working guide dog in Alabama.
Our second pup, Jazz, was raised by Phyllis Manning in 2008. Today Jazz is an Ambassador Dog in Sarasota, Florida.
Tango, our third “puppy”, born in 2009, was placed with Major David Hargitt of Fayetteville, NC. At the age of 31, this Army Special Ops Major who served our country through four deployments was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s Disease. At times, David struggles to keep his balance. Enter Tango – a sweet, laid back yellow Labrador sponsored by the Calendar Girls! Tango was raised by Mary and Pat Copeland in Fort Myers, Florida. Read more about their story here.
Our 2010 fourth pup, Bo, is named after veteran Robert McCormick of Ft. Myers and was raised by Roger Jackson of Cape Coral. Bo and his partner Katie live in St. Petersburg, Florida.
In 2011 our fifth pup Darley was raised by Kathy Daddato of Alva, Florida. Darley is named after Bo McCormick’s father, veteran 1st Lt Robert Darlington Knowles (“Darley”).
In 2012 we named o ur sixth pup Jerni after the first Paws for Patriots recipient Michael Jernigan. Jerni is being co-raised by the Thompsons and Gagliardis of Cape Coral. Jerni signifies our respect for Michael Jernigan and the amazing journey we travel as a team of volunteers. Visit Jerni on Facebook.
The People We are Helping
Lieutenant Colonel Kathy Champion
Let us introduce you to Lieutenant Colonel Kathy Champion. She is the first female recipient of a guide dog through the Paw for Patriots™ program. Kathy received her dog, Angel, in April 2009.
In October 2007, Kathy was diagnosed with optic neuritis due to a virus she contracted while serving our county in Iraq. A desire to regain her freedom and a love of the outdoors brought Kathy to Southeastern Guide Dogs for her first guide dog.
Using money raised from our local community, The Calendar Girls sponsored Kathy’s stay at the guide dog school and feel so privileged to have been able to do so!
Click on the links below to learn more about Kathy.