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In This Issue

Holidays at WCC

Available while supplies last!  The 2016 collectable holiday ornaments and 2017 calendars are here. Order yours now!

 

WCC on Fox News

Did you see the WCC profile on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace? Our own Rick Yount was profiled as Power Player of the Week!
From the Executive Director

To Our Friends and Supporters:
 
As we celebrate with family and friends this holiday season, Warrior Canine Connection gives thanks to YOU for being a part of our mission. Without your help, we could not have brought WCC’s therapeutic service dog training program to thousands of Veterans and their families. Thanks to you, 36 dogs have been placed and are making a positive impact for Veterans, their families, and the community. There are currently 50 puppies in the training pipeline, and thousands of Veterans suffering from the invisible wounds of war have found healing through WCC’s unique animal-assisted therapy model.
 
This has been an exciting year with WCC receiving national media coverage in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Fox News, and ESPN. We also officially transferred our operations to our new Healing Quarters in Boyds, Maryland, which will allow us to expand our breeding program, extend our Mission Based Trauma Recovery model to additional Service Members, and provide more highly trained service dogs to wounded Veterans. 
 
We couldn’t do this incredible work without you. Thank you for your partnership and your ongoing support of our nation’s Heroes.
 
With Much Gratitude,
 
Rick Yount

 

W C C    F E A T U R E    A R T I C L E






Puppy Namesake Marks More than Tradition —
It’s a Living Legacy

Jane and Patrick Hipsley say it is an honor to know there’s a Golden Retriever in training at Fort Belvoir who’s been named after their son, Christian.

“He’s still my son, I’m still his Mom – he’s just not here,” said Jane. “It’s nice to know that someone is calling his name, and I imagine they’re calling his name a lot. When people ask about the name, they can tell Christian’s story, and I think it’s a story worth telling. His memory will live on.”

Hipsley is named in remembrance of Army Sergeant Christian Hipsley, an Army medic who served three tours of duty in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait. During his service, he was awarded the Bronze Star with Combat Distinguished Valor and the Army Commendation Medal. Sadly, Christian he lost his battle with post-traumatic stress in 2014.

 

“It is nice to know that he is being honored not by the way he died, but by the way he lived, and that was with honor,” said Jane.

Jane says the namesake is more than fitting, as Christian loved animals and people, and was the kind of person who liked to help take care of others.

Hipsley is one of Chee’s puppies, from the “Aim High” litter.

Jane and Patrick had the opportunity to meet Hipsley earlier this year, and said that while meeting him was emotional, knowing that he is helping others through his training makes them happy. Jane added that while it’s still at least a good year way, when it comes time for Hipsley to graduate, she will be at the ceremony, sitting in the front row.

W C C  P R O G R A M   S P O T L I G H T
Bethesda and Fort Belvoir

WCC is proud to have continued serving our wounded Warriors at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC), the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE), and Fort Belvoir in Virginia throughout 2016. All programs continue to be successful, and are serving a growing number of Mission Based Trauma Recovery participants.

Due to the success and growth of the program at Fort Belvoir -- which has been led in the last 18 months by Training Instructor Dan Fudge -- Clinical Training Instructor Thomae Jones was transferred from Bethesda. Together, Dan, Thomae, and the five WCC dogs assigned to their program are having a tremendous impact on the patient population at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital.

WCC also collaborated with the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work to conduct a 12-week internship program over the summer of 2016. Eric Tausch, a graduate student participating in the school’s Animal Assisted Social Work program, completed the hands-on internship this past summer. In addition to working at the Healing Quarters in Boyds, Eric spent valuable time working with WCC trainers at both NICoE and Fort Belvoir.

"Like most Veterans, I'd actually lost hope and begun to accept that PTS is just one of those things you have to live with. I've spent my whole life helplessly watching my father and my Marines struggle unsuccessfully with PTS despite receiving treatment," said Tausch. "But this internship changed everything. I saw Veterans improve dramatically in only a few weeks, with a few transforming in a few hours or even minutes! It restored my hope and, more importantly, it gave me the skills and knowledge to begin restoring hope for my fellow Veterans and their families, too." WCC hopes that the experience will lead to future collaborations.

 
Menlo Park

Warrior Canine Connection is proud to continue serving our nation’s Veterans on the West Coast. This year marked the third anniversary of the Welcome Center at the Menlo Park campus of the Palo Alto VA Health Care System in California. Rachelle Miller joined WCC West Coast Program Manager Ellen Fisher as a full-time service dog training instructor in January, making the move from Maryland to California. A few of our four-legged friends also made the cross-country trek to join the Menlo Park team. Alma and Cooper from Chee’s Aim High litter, along with Lisa and RAB from Parker’s Patriots litter, were born this spring and have been thriving with their puppy parents and Warrior Trainers.
 
The Menlo Park team participated in several outreach events throughout the year in the Silicon Valley area. Our service dogs in training were a regular favorite at the weekly Facebook Farmers Market, where they spread awareness for WCC at the social media giant’s headquarters. They also participated in Northrop Grumman’s employee fair and the Facebook County Fair, which attracts a few thousand people each year. At the Naval Post-Graduate School America’s Heroes Charity Golf Tournament, nearly $230,000 was raised and donated to WCC through an auction and private donations. A special thank you to longtime WCC supporter Tom Callinan for his generous sponsorship at this annual charity event!
 
Later in the year, WCC started a working relationship with two new programs at the VA:  a mental health outpatient clinic which is in its pilot phase, and a poly trauma transitional rehabilitation program. WCC is excited to team up with these new units on campus.

In addition, WCC is exploring utilizing service dog training instruction as a community service option at the San Mateo County and Santa Clara County Veterans Treatment Court programs.

Last, but certainly not least, our Menlo Park team sent Charlie back to headquarters for advanced training. He is doing wonderfully and we are excited for his future! 

W C C  V O L U N T E E R   P R O F I L E

Rob Thomas and Precision for Value
 
As 2016 comes to an end, Warrior Canine Connection is taking the opportunity to recognize the talent and generous contributions of Rob Thomas and his volunteer creative team at Precision for Value in New Jersey.
 
During the year, Rob’s team was responsible for the creation of a number of new tools to increase visibility for Warrior Canine Connection and extend our mission. Their efforts included the design and printing of eye-catching new brochures, visual banners for use at events, and filming and producing a 30-second public service announcement that aired at the Washington Nationals baseball game on Memorial Day.
 
Rob was also on hand for the 2016 WCC graduation, videotaping the ceremony and even serving as D.J. during the reception. “As a Veteran, Rob has a deep understanding of the population we serve,” commented WCC Founder Rick Yount. “The contributions of his team have enhanced our visibility and helped us reach many more new supporters during the year. We are extremely fortunate and thankful for their efforts, and are looking forward to future collaboration.”
 
Rob and his team are one facet of the many kinds of the volunteers it takes to fill in the gaps at a nonprofit, and WCC is grateful for the gifts of time and passion each supporter brings to the organization. In 2017, we anticipate many opportunities to volunteer, from the important and fun task of puppy petting to helping our new Healing Quarters expand and thrive. We hope to see you in the coming year!
Warrior Canine Connection PSA
Watch the WCC PSA produced by Precision for Value

 W C C     C L I E N T     S T O R I E S 
When Bob and Tom Met Bob: WCC Service Dog Team Meets Namesake

This year, the 10th Annual Stand Up for Heroes event in New York City had two very special guests: our very own service dog team Tom Mielke and Bob! This sold-out event, hosted by the Bob Woodruff Foundation and the New York Comedy Festival, raised more than $6.2 million for our nation’s injured Veterans. Veterans took the stage to share their inspiring stories and enjoyed the performances of celebrities that included Louis C.K., Jim Gaffigan, Jerry Seinfeld, Bruce Springsteen, and Jon Stewart. Our Golden Retriever Bob and his Veteran Tom had the pleasure of not only sitting in the second row during the event, but also meeting Bob’s namesake, Bob Woodruff.
 
Tom summed up his experience by stating, “Stand Up for Heroes was, for me, an emotional and inspirational experience. There were Service Men and Women with wounds both visible and invisible, and all of the service members displayed a remarkable, courageous tranquility. They were all determined that their wounds would not limit them in leading productive lives. Bob and Lee Woodruff and their foundation are dedicated to providing help for our wounded and disabled Service Members. It was an honor to meet Mr. Woodruff and personally thank him for his work.” Tom also added that the two Bobs are very much alike: personable, friendly, outgoing, and eager to serve injured Veterans and their families.
We are proud to announce that Warrior Canine Connection has received a second grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF). BWF works to ensure injured Veterans and their families are thriving long after they return home. The team at BWF navigates the maze of over 46,000 nonprofit organizations to find and fund innovative programs in communities where post-9/11 Veterans, their families and caregivers live and work.
 
Receiving a grant from BWF is an honor that recognizes the dedication, focus and effectiveness of our staff, volunteers and supporters. As a grant recipient, our organization joins the Bob Woodruff Foundation grantee network, a collaboration of top-tier programs and advocates investing in the next chapter of our Veterans.
 
You can learn more about the Bob Woodruff Foundation at bobwoodrufffoundation.org. We encourage you to follow @Stand4Heroes on Twitter or like BWF’s page on Facebook at
www.facebook.com/Stand4Heroes.

W C C     G I V I N G    S P O T L I G H T
Become a Permanent Part of WCC’s History!
 
On November 22nd, WCC launched its Holiday Charity Challenge on Crowdrise. This is a critically important crowd-funding campaign for the organization, offering $250,000 in bonuses for those non-profit organizations who raise the most money and engage the greatest number of its supporters. WCC has won our share of these bonuses in the past, and with your help, we can do it again!
 
All gifts received during this year’s Holiday Challenge will help Warrior Canine Connection to realize its new Healing Quarters located in Boyds, Maryland. This ambitious new capital construction project will expand WCC’s ability to serve thousands more wounded Veterans and their families. You can be a permanent part of the Healing Quarters history by making a gift today!
 
Until January 5, 2017, those who generously support WCC at the $2,500 level and above will have their name permanently included on the Capital Construction Donor Wall, located at the new Healing Quarters. For more information on the Healing Quarters construction project  visit our website.
 
Please make a gift today through the Holiday Charity Challenge and help WCC bring the healing power of dogs to more heroes. 

Warrior Canine Connection enlists recovering Warriors in a therapeutic mission of learning to train service dogs for their fellow Veterans.

WCC is a 501(C)3 nonprofit organization.


CFC #94624 

 
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Copyright © 2016 Warrior Canine Connection, All rights reserved.


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