JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Thanks to Lambda Chi Alpha, an army veteran in Heber Springs will receive a service dog. David Hudson is a trout guide. He likes life spent in the outdoors after serving his country. Hudson served in Iraq and drove a military vehicle called a "buffalo." It is a specialized mine-clearing vehicle.
"We never charge veterans for service dogs," Charles Dwyer, co-president of Retrieving Freedom, Inc. said. "Macie will go on the boat with him."
Dwyer explained that Retrieving Freedom, Inc. has placed 200 service dogs with veterans in need. The 501(c)3 organization is based in Waverly, Iowa and Senatobia, Mississippi.
"There is a two to four year waiting list for these types of dogs," Dwyer said.
There are 300,000 veterans who have been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. There's another 5,000 disabled veterans who are amputees.
Dwyer brought Macie, Hudson's trained service dog to the Lambda Chi Alpha's Red, White, and Blue BBQ at the fraternity's house at Arkansas State University on August 27.
The fraternity arrived at its final fundraising totals for the day.
"We are so excited and cannot believe the incredible support," said Robert Morris, philanthropy chairman of Lambda Chi Alpha. Morris pointed to support from the Jonesboro business community as to the reason for such support.
"You Lucky Dog" was a sponsor of the Red, White, and Blue BBQ. The store's owner had a son who received a service dog. The late PFC Army Ranger Kyle Shipman received a service dog named Turbo before he died in a car accident.
"These service dogs can be trained for 85 different commands," said Dwyer. "The dogs are also trained for autistic children and individuals with Type 1 diabetes."
Dogs can be trained to help autistic children by snuggling with them to apply pressure during a stressful episode. Also, a service dog can help an autistic child by keeping them from wandering and getting lost. Should they get lost, the dog can track their scent.
The Red, White, and Blue BBQ featured cooking teams competing for trophies Celebrity judges determined the winning ribs and chicken cooking teams.
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