By Kathy L. Collins

Recently, the Old Town Chapter Harley Owners Group (Old Town Hog Chapter #8194), located at 9841 Adamo Dr. in Brandon, donated $43,000 to Southeastern Guide Dogs. Each year, the group holds a golf tournament.
The tournament has a dual purpose. One, proceeds from the tournament are used to support veterans who have been blinded, lost limbs or suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Secondly, it offers active military members, especially those stationed at MacDill Air Force Base, a day of fun and relaxation.

By supporting Southeastern Guide Dogs and their Paws For Patriots, the Old Town Chapter can assist a veteran by helping raise funds for service dogs.

Funds can be used to allows veterans to regain freedom and mobility through three distinct ways: It can provide a live-in guide dog for a visually impaired veteran, it can provide assistance dogs to veterans suffering from PTSD, and it can provide a facility therapy dog who goes with a volunteer handler to visit veterans at a military hospital or veterans center.

The Veterans Administration does not recognize service animals as a prosthetic, so they will not pay for this type of service.

Chapter members work together to solicit sponsorships and private donations to ensure the financial success of the popular tournament, in addition to covering the entry fees of about 25 military foursomes.

“The members of the Old Town Chapter believe it is important for us, as a chapter, to raise awareness about the needs of veterans with visual impairments and PTSD, and to show these men and women that their sacrifices matter to us,” said Chapter Director Paul Fore.

The Old Town Chapter has donated over $250,000 since it began supporting Southeastern Guide Dogs.

“The Old Town Chapter does an amazing job supporting veterans and their families through their highly successful fundraising efforts and by sponsoring military personnel so they can enjoy a day of golf and camaraderie at their annual tournament,” said Andy Kramer, vice president of philanthropy for Southeastern Guide Dogs. “We are grateful for the donations that make it possible for us to provide guide dogs and service dogs to veterans at no charge, giving them the freedom, dignity, mobility and independence they so richly deserve.”

Visit www.oldtownhog.com or www.guidedogs.org.